Imagine a large pie, if you will, whose filling, pastry and sumptuous mouth-watering flaky crust represent the finest speculative fiction that Canada's authors have to offer. Suppose that this pie is cut into three generous pieces - one piece being horror, another fantasy and the third representing modern sci-fi in its many different styles and guises. "North of Infinity II",an anthology of 12 short stories edited by Mark Leslie and written by the very best that contemporary Canadian fiction in this genre has to offer is a fascinating three legged beast standing at the very centre of this pie with one foot firmly planted in each of its pieces.
Although this fabulous little collection can be read through the course of a single sitting in front of the fire, Leslie has collected lots of meat for a wondering reader to chew on - a scientist sends himself messages in his own past in order to alter his destiny; a deeper understanding of the functions of a brain; a somewhat horrific bizarre future for reproductive technology; an alternative paleontological history of the demise of the dinosaurs; an anthropological imagining on the discovery of fire; oft-repeated but always entertaining philosophical musings on the sentience of robotic intelligence; the nature of a society in which one can alter one's own personality for a fee; and, my personal favourite, a very disturbing story involving the ethics of capital punishment.
With the possible exception of Robert Sawyer, a winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards in the sci-fi genre, these authors are, sadly, not well known names in literature. But, if this collection is a typical example of their output, then they certainly should be. Highly recommended for fans of sci-fi, particularly in the short story format.
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About the reviewer
Paul Weiss (cpw1952)
A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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