New Suns is an excellent collection of short fiction, collected from a bevy of talented science fiction and fantasy authors. Many of these authors were new to me and I look forward to diving further into their collective works.
The stories feel completely original, creating unexpected twists on old tales and weaving new stories that range from hilarious to thought-provoking. You’ll find a future Earth turned massive tourist attraction for thrill-seeking aliens. You’ll find a jinn turned businessman through the modernization of wish granting. You’ll find a brilliant retelling of an old fable, complete with witty dialog from the author on the state of such a tale. It’s a wonderful collection, organized in a way that continuously surprised me as I read through the stories.
A couple of my favorites…
The Fine Print (by Chinelo Onwualu) is a modern adaptation of a jinn story, shifting the narrative from a legend format to a modern business complete with paper contracts, customer service, and a catalog of available wishes. The narrative shows the wishing system for what it really is, revealing the endless wants of man that often outweigh what they actually need. It’s fascinating to imagine a wish system of checks and balances where you get everything you ever wanted in life, at a cost.
The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex (by Tobias S. Buckell) shows us a future where Earth is overrun by alien tourists looking for a thrilling vacation on a “primitive” world. The cities are nothing but tourist stores, sightseeing, and restaurants catering to the needs of thousands of alien species. We’re introduced to a number of alien races, all of them eager to experience the thrills of human life. The story paints a pretty hilarious picture of the cosmos, namely as a bunch of bored aliens looking for something different from their highly advanced civilizations and daily lives.
Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire (by E. Lily Yu) is a brilliantly witty take on the classic ’emperor with no clothes’ story. The author becomes a part of the story, contemplating the telling of a fable and what makes a good story great. I loved the sense of voice in the narrative.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
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