Apostrophes & Apocalypses: The First Collection From One of the Most Acclaimed SF Writers of the Decade

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9780312850692: Apostrophes & Apocalypses: The First Collection From One of the Most Acclaimed SF Writers of the Decade

Before novels like Mother of Storms, A Million Open Doors, Finity, and Earth Made of Glass, John Barnes was known for quirky, powerful short stories, many published by SF magazines in the late 1980s. Now the best of them are finally collected--along with several new stories that appear here for the first time ever.

Also here are several examples of Barnes's trenchant writings on the art of SF, ranging from provocative polemics like "Deep in the Heart of Genre" and "That Style Thingie" to his classic "How to Build a Future," the definitive modern esay on the construction of science-fictional plausibility.

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Review:

John Barnes writes hard SF with a heart; his speculations are always grounded in working things out from first principles, but he remembers to think also about how his imaginary situations might feel. "Gentleman Pervert, Out on a Spree," for example, starts with some speculation about tagging, and the speed with which an information age can make a marginal life worse--Ken is photographed curb-crawling and is then divorced and fired before he even gets home.

It moves, though, in unexpected directions--no excuses are made for Ken and his compulsions, yet we get to know and even love him like a deeply flawed younger brother. When Barnes writes of the fall of civilization to Christianity and/or barbarism, his rationalism does not rule out empathy for other ways of seeing--and there is a sense that armed conflict always involves collateral losses of more than just lives. The doomed soldier of "Advice to the Civilized" knows that in that regret lies the whole difference between civilization and barbarism. The stories come packaged with some nonfiction--Barnes writes well about building a world and his views on style and criticism; he writes inspirationally about education and his hopes for the future. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk

From the Publisher:

Praise for the Science Fiction of John Barnes:

"One of the most able and impressive of SF's rising stars." --Publishers Weekly

"John Barnes convinces. He may well be the writer on whom the mantle of Robert Heinlein falls." --Poul Anderson

"John Barnes has a talent for creating detailed, workable worlds for his characters to play in and then hiding all the 'woodwork.' But the characters' problems--no matter how strange they seem to us--feel right because all the underpinnings of a fully thought-out society are there to make them real." --Michael Flynn

"Like JFK and Elvis, Robert Heinlein is alive and well and living among us under the name of John Barnes." --The New York Review of Science Fiction

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