Editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch reaches for the stars with this latest volume of Fiction River Presents. With stories that take the reader from pulse-pounding terror and utter darkness, to sheer joy and wish fulfillment, this volume runs the gamut of the space opera genre. So, get ready for a wonderful journey and see why Adventures Fantastic says: "If you haven't checked out Fiction River yet, you should. There's something for everyone."
Table of Contents
"Get Inside" by Dayle A. Dermatis
"Sole Survivor" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
"The Mooring Buoy" by Jamie McNabb
"Schrodinger's Bar" by Kim May
"Upon_A_Starship.png" by Brigid Collins
"Jelly's Heroes" by Louisa Swann
"Dreams of A Moon" by Dean Wesley Smith
"Charlie Company" by JC Andrijeski
"H-Hour" by Steven Mohan, Jr.
"[Fiction River] is one of the best and most exciting publications in the field today. Check out an issue and see why I say that."– Keith West, Adventures Fantastic
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Sometimes I label the space opera subgenre of science fiction as stories in which spaceships go whoosh! That's not an entirely fair description, but people seem to understand it. We all know that spaceships make no audible noise as they travel through space, because there is no air in space, and what we hear as sound is actually vibrations in air.
I say the description isn't fair because a lot of space opera is filled with silent spaceships and modern science. Military science fiction often gets lumped into space opera as well, because military sf is concerned more with the military tropes than the hard science tropes.
What I love about space opera is its inventiveness. It doesn't shy away from whooshing spaceships—and might even come up with a way that spaceships would make that noise (maybe for the passengers inside the ship, if nothing else).
Space opera is more concerned with the adventure and the gosh-wow aspect of space travel than it is with the how-tos of space travel. If a space opera story has a group of colonists who are trying to get to a planet, we won't read about how they put their ship together or the details of the colonization. We'll probably read about the colonists trying to survive the trip when they get invaded by pirates or the colonists having a revolt on the ship.
Space opera is something adventurous and innovative, something that makes us want to go to space, rather than looking at space as something only the most brilliant and athletic among us can do.
I also like the problem aspect of space opera—what if teenagers go to space? Would they do teenage things to each other? What if there's a nifty bar at a space station that everyone wants to go to? What if the best people to travel in space are the ones who can survive created by relativity?
Those ideas and more fill this book. All of the stories come from Fiction River—different volumes of Fiction River, since Fiction River mixes genres a lot.
Fiction River also mixes moods, and so does this volume. From the pulse-pounding terror of Dayle A. Dermatis's "Get Inside" to the darkness of JC Andrijeski's "Charlie Company" to the sheer inventive joy of Louisa Swann's "Jelly's Heroes," we pretty much cover the light and the dark of space. We have plausible military sf stories, like former Naval officer Steven Mohan, Jr's "H-Hour" to wonderful wish-fulfillment like Dean Wesley Smith's "Dream of a Moon."
A number of other stories inspire or will make you smile. Or, at least, they made me smile.
So settle in your chair and prepare to join some marvelous folks on their journeys to the stars. You'll have a great time.
—Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Las Vegas, Nevada
February 24, 2019