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Featuring more than sixty groundbreaking short stories by modern science fiction's most important and influential writers, The Ascent of Wonder offers a definitive and incisive exploration of the SF genre's visionary core.
From Poe to Pohl, Wells to Wolfe, and Verne to Vinge, this hefty anthology fully charts the themes, trends, thoughts, and traditions that comprise the challenging yet rich literary form known as "hard SF."
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David G. Hartwell is also the editor of the critically acclaimed anthology The Dark Descent: The Evolution of Horror, along with several other books.
Kathryn Cramer has also co-edited The Hard SF Renaissance, Spirits of Christmas, and other titles.
This massive tome contains some of the good, the bad and the ugly stories that have helped give "hard" science fiction its reputation as a refuge for writers more comfortable with a slide rule than with a pen. The collection starts off strongly enough, with Ursula K. Le Guin's "Nine Lives," a lovely story about cloning, and it doesn't get into real trouble until it reaches Hal Clement's "Proof," which is a textbook case of the maxim proposed by Gregory Benford in his introduction, that "hard SF focuses on minimally characterized figures acting against a landscape of universal, scientific truths." The anthology then bounces through mostly lesser stories by luminaries of the field (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Wolfe, Dick), several pieces by SF's pioneers (Kipling, Wells, Poe, Verne), and a small number of landmark works like William Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic" (the story credited with starting the cyberpunk movement). Impressive tales by J. G. Ballard, John M. Ford, Bruce Sterling, Donald M. Kingsbury and Kate Wilhelm improve matters considerably, but then the anthology closes, inexplicably, with Verner Vinge's dated "Bookworm, Run!" Though the book's title claims that "wonder" is in "the ascent" in hard science fiction, there's little sense of forward motion--perhaps because of the odd, nonchronological arrangement of work. While hard-core hard-SF fans will no doubt find plenty to excite them here, most readers are in for the ascent of ennui.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Orb Books, 1997. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0312855095
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