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Futures: Four Novellas (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Dezember 2001


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Futures ist der knappe Titel eines Sammelbandes mit vier Kurzromanen britischer SF-Autoren, die in ihrem Heimatland in limitierten Einzelausgaben erschienen sind. Alle vier Autoren gehören zu den Superstars der angloamerikanischen SF und alle vier zeigen sich in seltener Höchstform.

Den Auftakt macht Watching Trees Grow von Peter F. Hamilton. In dieser Alternativwelt-Geschichte ist das Römische Reich nie untergegangen und "Zuchtprogramme" unter Gladiatoren haben über die Jahrhunderte hinweg Menschen von unglaublicher Langlebigkeit geschaffen, die zu den eigentlichen Herrschern über die Erde geworden sind. Hamilton schildert einen Mordfall, mit dem eine Verfolgungsjagd durch Zeit und Raum beginnt -- ein tempo- und ideenreiches Krimidrama!

In Reality Dust entführt Stephen Baxter seine Leser in das Universum seiner Xeelee-Geschichten. Auch hier geht es -- allerdings in einer fernen Zukunft -- um fast unsterbliche Menschen, die ein Bündnis mit der außerirdischen Besatzungsmacht eingegangen waren und dafür erbarmungslos gejagt werden. Sprache und Charakterzeichnung gehört auch in dieser Erzählung nicht zu Baxters Stärken, aber er fabuliert mit einer solchen visionären Kraft, dass dieses Manko kaum auffällt.

Making History von Paul J. McAuley spielt vor dem gleichen Hintergrund wie eine ganze Reihe von Quiet War-Erzählungen dieses Autors. Kolonien auf den Jupiter- und Saturn-Monden haben gegen die ihnen von der Erde aufgebürdete Schuldenlast rebelliert und sind blutig "befriedet" worden. Auf der Suche nach einer eigenen Geschichte müssen die Mondbewohner eine schwierige Gratwanderung zwischen Ehrenhaftigkeit und politischem Intrigenspiel vollführen.

In Chaga und Kirinya konfrontierte Ian McDonald die Menschheit mit der "Invasion" einer außerirdischen Vegetation. Herrschte in diesen beiden Romanen noch der weiße, eurozentrische Blickwinkel vor, lässt er in Tendeléo's Story eine Kenianerin zu Wort kommen, deren Dorf durch das Vordringen des Chaga "bedroht" ist. Eine meisterhafte Erweiterung des Mythos und gleichzeitig ein guter Einstieg in eine faszinierende Welt.

Futures zeigt die Science Fiction von ihrer besten Seite: solide bis brillant geschriebene Kurzromane, die die ganze Bandbreite des Genres aufzeigen -- ein Staunen erregendes Lesevergnügen. --Hannes Riffel

Synopsis

Four acclaimed masters of modern science fiction share provocative, individual visions of the future in four short novellas.

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10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Worth the price for Ian Macdonald alone. 20. Dezember 2001
Von flying-monkey - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I bought this collection for one reason and one reason only: it contained another slice of Ian McDonald's world-turned-upside-down 'Chaga; sequence. As it turned out this was by far the best piece in the book, but more of that later.
I haver never been convinced by Pater Hamilton, much as I want to like a British author who can do cyberpunk and do space opera with the best of the yanks. However his piece in this collection, 'Watching Trees Grow' changed my opinion of him. It is an alternative-history crime novella based on the premise that descendants of the Romans still rule Britian through a set of East India Company-style families who combine economic control with a monopolies over various areas of scientific progress. It is a neat idea, and takes the premise further than many other alternative histories by throwing the story further and further into the future, as an old rivalry becomes an obsession that almost transcends time.
I enjoyed it despite the episodic feel - perhaps a novel would have been more appropriate - but its 'Britishness' seemed slightly musty and old-fashionned, and redolent of dreams of Empire, in stark contrast to McDonald, or more overtly hip authors like Jeff Noon or Justina Robson. Maybe that was the point, and if so it was well made: science fiction is much the poorer if it doesn't teach you something about the society in which you live.
As for Stephen Baxter's 'Reality Dust': well, he does try, and he does keep churning them out, but this is so boring and so mainstream and so traditional. It is all done very competantly, but it is basically the kind of SF I enjoyed when I was a teenager, it isn't challenging in any way.
I was a little disappointed with Paul McAuley's novella, 'Making History', especially as he is one of my favourite writers. This was partly because at the heart of it was a very tedious old argument about the nature of history (great men versus social processes) which tended to intrude on the quite interesting story of the processs of war, defeat, reconciliation and the way history is written. Perhaps this was set up as part of the character of the historian to demonstrate his own flaws, but it didn't really convince. This is certainly not one of his best stories.
As I said at the start, I bought this collection for Ian McDonald's 'Tendeleo's Story'. I was certainly not disappointed by this one. McDonald is one of the few writers in the genre today who can combine real politics and a strongly compassionate and empathetic grasp of human nature. He is also a superb writer, able to portray setting and character in a vivid, dynamic and sensual way.
This novella, as the title suggests is the story of Kenyan girl, Tendeleo, the arrival of a extraterrestrial nanotech lifeform, the Chaga, that begins to transform Africa, and as a result the balance of global power. Initally for Tendeleo, however, this means growing up and simply trying to survive in the ferment that follows, which in her case means geting more and more deeply involved in street gangs smuggling Chaga material out of Africa. Capture and exile is never far away and whe it comes she loses here family in tragic and guilt-inducing circumstances. She winds up in cold, rainy Manchester, England, where she meets the other central character and narrative voice of the story, Sean, a black Irishman, who is also an exile in various ways, and a tentative love affair begins. Of course, inevitably Tendeleo has to return to Africa, where the Chaga has begun to revolutionise everyday life and the place of Africa in the world.
'Tendeleo's Story' is worth the price of this collection alone. It is an almost perfect example of how to write a novella that with none of the structural problems of the others in the book. The narrative is perfectly paced, with a deft handling of both action and emotion and no forced-ness or pretension. It is truly worthwhile and heartbreakingly real story that exist within an utterly fantastic and transforming world, yet a world which says so much about our own. A true gem of a story, from one of the best and most underrated writers around.
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A quartet of British SF authors show their stuff 13. Dezember 2001
Von Jvstin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This volume is somewhat different than the usual flurry of anthologies that come out, especially during the holiday season, on two counts.
First, it is a British import, and thus the authors represented, while to varying degrees familiar to most of the rest of the world, really are British in tone and outlook.
Second, rather than stories, this volume has the longer novella form for the stories, and thus there is one story apiece. SF seems to be the last bastion of this "not quite short story, not quite novel" length work, and the virtues of the form are admirably displayed here.
The first story is Peter F. Hamilton's WATCHING TREES GROW. Although far better known for his Reality Dysfunction space opera, Hamilton has written detective SF before (The Mindstar Rising novels) and this is another example, with a twist...it is set in an alternate history where Heinleinian long-lived families vie for power and influence, and that is just the backdrop to a murder mystery.
The second story is REALITY DUST by Stephen Baxter. Unlike Hamilton, Baxter's story is set in his trademark universe, the "Xeelee Sequence". This is set after the Qax Domination, where their former collaborator-lackeys seek escape from the freed peoples of Earth in a rather unusual escape route.
MAKING HISTORY, by Paul McAuley is set in a more standard "near future" solar system, in the aftermath of a war...and even if it is true that history is written by the victors, that history can sometimes be rather muddled in the making.
The last story is TENDELEO'S STORY by Ian MacDonald. Like the Baxter, it is set in a trademark world of his, the "Chaga stories", where a strange alien life (nanotech? technolife?) has started to colonize the Earth, beginning with Africa. This story, like his other novels and stories, focuses more on the people affected by the Chaga, much more so than the actual event itself.
All four of these stories are strong, but of course, tastes may vary. The stories do range a far chunk of SF, and it is very possible that while you might like two or three, you may not like all four (personally, I liked the Baxter the best and the McDonald the least). Thus, the 4 star rating. Still, all in all, if you are at all interested in what the best British SF writers are doing, this paperback is perfect for the purpose.
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
what SF is really all about! 26. April 2002
Von Rebecca Brown - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Four novellas that are everything that is great about science fiction. These four authors are absolutely among the greatest voices in the genre today.
In WATCHING TREES GROW Peter Hamilton took history, turned it upside down, shook it a bit & gave us an alternate view of a history quite unlike anything I had ever read before.
Stephen Baxter's REALITY DUST made the reader look at reality in a whole new way.
In MAKING HISTORY, Paul McAuley showed how history is not always written by the victor.
Ian MacDonald's TENDELEO'S STORY took me back to the Chaga in EVOLUTION'S SHORE which always impressed me as being one of the most possibly real First Contact stories ever written.
All four novellas explore the very trait of our species' survival, adaptability, that brings hope & after all that's what science fiction is really about.
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