book review: the secret history of science fiction

The Secret History of Science Fiction (edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel) is a collection of short stories, some from traditionally SciFi associated authors and some by “literary” ones. The idea is that SF and stuff that shows up in the New Yorker are far from mutually exclusive. Apart from the point of the book, this stood alone as a collection of great stories.

My personal favourites were, Margaret Atwood’s story Homelanding (a beautiful introduction between two species, ending with why she will not say “Take me to your leaders”), George Saunders’ 93990 (about science), and Carter Scholz’ Nine Billion Names of God (about the art of fiction). There were only a couple of stories I didn’t care for, but that’s to be expected when you’ve got such a range of authors in a book. I completely expected to like this one story by an author I usually quite enjoy but could barely get through it.

At work I’ve started recommending authors from this book to everyone who asks for one of those borderline SF books, like Oryx and Crake or The Cloud Atlas or what have you. Sadly we don’t have this secret history in our collection. Single tear.

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