As it is an anthology, it’s very difficult to give an in depth review of characterization and style as I usually do. Instead, I’ll discuss several stories I felt were most outstanding. This is in no way a reflection on the others. All are well written with interesting premises that warrant exploration. I have been an avid sci-fi reader since I was a child. Therefore, the stories I’ve chosen reflect my personal tastes.
“Birthright” by Ian Smith is the first that really caught my eye. It’s about a teenage girl cast in a difficult role as a protector. She does her duty and moves on to her next assignment. I was impressed with the story’s unique perspective and straightforward readability.
“Auditory Crescendo” by Geoff Nelder explores the use (or abuse) of a young man injured in an explosion. Experimental surgery leaves him with the ability to hear from a great distance. How like the government to exploit that. The story leaves the reader wondering just what he will do with his ability. Will he use it for good or ill?
“Caveat Emptor!” (Buyer Beware) by Bec Zugor presents a compelling ethical and moral issue. In this world, talent transplants are made by taking cells from a highly talented artist or musician, a patch is cloned and put into the subject. What the company doesn’t say is that certain personality aberrations can also be transplanted—with disturbing results. The climax adds new dimensions to the words, “Buyer Beware”.
“First Class” by Barbara Krasnoff is a lighthearted story of a young woman stranded on an alien world when the star cruiser she’s on meets with an accident. At first terrified by her surroundings, she learns to cope and even makes friends with the natives. It’s a charming story about finding ways to get along.
“Heaven as Iron, Earth as Brass” by Richard J. Goldstein is an amazingly powerful tale. It shows the reader that some people would rather die for their hate than learn to live without it. This story is a deeply moving social commentary.
“Galactic Collision” by Magdalena Bell is a wonderfully expressive poem about outer space. I enjoyed the images she created with her words. It is the only poem in the anthology and well worth being included.
“Scream Quietly” by Sheila Crosby was one of my favorite stories. Told by way of letters from the perspective of a young woman in 1849 England. This story depicts the intricacies of alien contact and space/ time travel. It’s a wonderfully heartwarming tale with a great twist at the end.
“Hole Card” by Robert Blevins is a somewhat disturbing look at how a witness from the Roswell crash is treated and interrogated. It puts in clear focus attitudes toward aliens, as something to be dissected and experimented upon.
“Chester” by Karl Bunker is a lovely story of a man and his pet alien, Chester. Despite popular opinion to the contrary, Hexapod owners know that their alien companions are loving, faithful and kind. The gift they give their owners on dying could very well save humanity. This is a beautiful depiction not only of trust, but of redemption.
“Borrowed Time” by Gustavo Bondoni leaves the reader wondering if all that transpired was as a result of some sick, ethereal joke. Has Hawthorne undermined humanity because of purposely bad advice? The reader is left to determine this for himself.
“Escape Velocity” is an excellent anthology of sci-fi stories for any science fiction lover. Its amazing variety has something to please every reader. I highly recommend “Escape Velocity”.
5 Golden Acorns
© Dellani Oakes
Dellani Oakes is the author of Indian Summer, Lone Wolf and The Ninja Tattoo. Look for them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.