Beyond the beyond (book review)

A quick review of Beyond the beyond, a collection of short stories by Poul Anderson.

This is a collection of some of Anderson’s sci-fi.  Personally I prefer his fantasy and historical stuff to sci-fi but the stories are all pretty solid (actually I didn’t read the last two, as I get a little tired of hard science fiction after a while!).  They all are very recognizably Anderson in that they use some of his signature themes: primitives outsmarting technologically advanced opponents and libertarianism in particular.  One of the stories (“Memory”) also shows some of his very dark side (humanity has advanced technologically but become atrociously depraved morally), and several meditate on the idea that space is incredibly vast (“Memory,” “Brake,” and “The day of burning”).

“The sensitive man” is probably the most thrilling, although the action is sporadic rather than sustained, like bursts of machine gun fire.  Most of the stories show Anderson’s trademark sympathy for antagonists, so that we may root for the hero but can’t despise the bad guys (“Memory” being an exception, as is “The sensitive man” to a lesser extent).

As far as I can tell this book is out of print (I have a hardback from a library book sale with a psychedelic 1960’s cover above), but if you can find this at a library or used book store I recommend it.

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Published in: on October 30, 2010 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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