Dan Simmons's exhilarating story of a unique mountain-climbing expedition ("On K2 with Kanakaredes") kicks off this collection of original short speculative fiction that includes contributions by Gregory Benford, Michael Moorcock, Harry Turtledove, Ardath Mayhar, and other groundbreaking authors of sf and imaginative fiction. Featuring three novellas, 22 short stories, and five novelettes, this anthology exhibits a wide variety of styles and topics and aptly demonstrates the cutting edge of the genre. Recommended for most sf or short story collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
For this big, glitzy original anthology, Sarrantonio asked his contributors to write short stories that could "influence the course of sf for the next twenty-five years." That's a fairly pretentious goal. Sarrantonio's working subtitle was "Dangerous Visions for the New Millennium," a nod to Harlan Ellison's revolutionary 1967 story anthology with subjects and/or styles too hot for publishers at the time. Nowadays, there aren't many taboos in SF, so this anthology mostly shows how accessible formerly "extreme" stories have become. Looked at simply as stories, the contents are occasionally disappointing. Some pieces are included because of the writers' reputations, some have a message that overpowers everything else, some are too brief to be much more than displays of style, and some suffer from multiple weaknesses. But there are excellent stories, too, showing the range of contemporary SF, such as Dan Simmons's tale of a human-alien team of mountain climbers, "On K2 with Kanakaredes," and Stephen Baxter's picture of human nature reasserting itself after extreme distortion, "In the Un-Black." In addition, Gene Wolfe ("Viewpoint") and Rudy Rucker and John Shirley ("Pockets") present message stories with real plots. Greg Benford ("Anomalies") offers a short tale as compact and deadly as a coral snake, while Catherine Wells ("'Bassador") and Neal Barrett Jr. ("Rhido Wars") use mind-stretching prose styles effectively. That's a pretty good average, actually, and the rest are worth reading to see how the writers responded to the editor's challenge. Agent, Ralph Vicinanza. (Dec. 4) FYI: Sarrantonio is the editor of 999 (2001), an anthology of horror fiction. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"A fine collection of stories." ("SF Site")" Redshift" [continues] "Dangerous Visions'" tradition of literate, cohesive, well-plotted stories untrammeled by inhibitions or prohibitions." ("Chicago Sun-Times")