An insightful, quicksilver romp through Brin's own mind. In the 20 essays, short stories, and little wonders in this book, David will take you from the worlds of Galileo Galilei and Jules Verne, through thoughtful explorations of Orwell and Tolkien, and on into tomorrows that just may happen.
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This gathering of mostly previously published essays and short fiction also includes "The Open-Ended Science Fiction Story: A Challenge to New Colleagues," which is based on a writing-group exercise, and the previously unpublished beginning of a novel. The stories range from an unnerving meditation on the nature and the reliability of reality in "Stones of Significance" to a clever collaboration with Gregory Benford, "Paris Conquers All," that envisions the City of Light's triumph over the Martians of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Brin's essays raise a number of interesting questions about such matters as the social responsibility to increase human maturity of attitude in tandem with rapidly advancing technology; the works of J. R. R. Tolkien; and the effects of proficient amateurs on various creative endeavors. An admirable showcase of Brin's multifaceted writing personality, one that, in fiction and nonfiction, enjoys raising difficult questions without claiming to have all the answers to them. Regina Schroeder
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