More than once I have added a book to my shelf after reading one of Lisa Hura's reviews on the "When Falls the Coliseum" blog. "Sure would be neat to do something like that," I thought ... so here we go ...
We all have our reasons for reading science fiction. Me? I have at least a
couple, and I found them both - well, eventually, at least - in Dave Smeds'
collection of short stories, Futures Near and Far. The title is appropriate,
really, since some of the futures Smeds presents are far-off indeed, while
others are quite near ... maybe a little TOO near for comfort.
read science fiction, I look forward to a chance to sit back and speculate on
"what if?" Where might future developments in science and technology take us,
and will we better for the direction and the distance S&T takes us into the
future? Smeds' stories offered plenty upon which to speculate upon the first
point, with a look at a variety of possible developments ... though with a
particular emphasis on nanotechnology.
As for the second (the "we") part,
though, I found myself less-than-encouraged by the people who populate these
speculative futures. By book's end, however, Smeds' words had me thinking that
humans will probably be a mixed bag then (as they are now) ... and that in the
end, things will be alright ... that the violent beatings our world will take
from extreme cage fighters and callous corporate lawyers will be more than
offset by a mother's love, by the support of a dedicated sensei, and by the
awakened spirit of an interstellar homesteader, among others.
If only we
could dispense with the introductions to the stories! Some are short, some are
long, and none seem to contribute much to the story that is to follow. Don't get
me wrong ... introductions CAN be useful, and add to the enjoyment of the story
... Arthur Clarke proved that in Tales from the White Hart, and Isaac Asimov
did as well in his HUGO Award Anthologies. Such is NOT the case in Futures Near and Far. But in the end, that is a small thing, really ... and I
highly recommend the stories themselves.
One more thing ... Two of
Smeds' stories, which revolve around the future of martial arts and artists,
their practice and competition, get high marks from my son, who has a black belt
in Tae Kwon Do ... sugo ha shasim nida!
ADDED NOTE: Futures Near and Far was added to my virtual bookshelf as a free Early Reviewers Copy from librarything.com