Book: Worlds Apart

This book is a collection of stories, some old, some newer, some classics by well established writers and some experiments by less familiar names. What they have in common is that they explore an unusual attraction.

  • “Harper Conan and Singer David,” by Edgar Pangborn, is set in a post-apocalyptic world with Celtic overtones. Classic and poetic, with a nice helping of human nature.
  • “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” by James Tiptree, Jr., takes an American manned space-capsule three hundred years into the future. This is one of the few stories that explores the “unconscious” attitudes that are usually lurking stark naked in the back of our minds. Classic.
  • “To Keep the Oath,” by Marion Zimmer Bradley. In an alternate world somewhat reminiscent of Tanya Huff’s Four Quarters series, a woman who has renounced femininity and learned to fight meets other women who could benefit from following the same path, but is sworn not to recruit them.
  • “Do Androids Dream of Electric Love?” by Walt Liebscher is a short story with mechanosexual overtones.
  • “Lollipop and the Tar Baby,” by John Varley, is in the much farther future where some people live in space and change their sex or appendages as we change costumes. And that’s the starting point: from there, it gets weird. It can only be classed as space opera as there are no explanations of any of the novelties.
  • “The Mystery of the Young Gentlemen,” by Joanna Russ, plays with your ideas of what’s true as two super-emaths navigate a repressed society on their way to a refuge that only isolation provides.
  • “The Gods of Reorth,” by Elizabeth A. Lynn. A spacefaring race with high technology in biology and the use of forces at a distance sends its members out to act as gods and use their powers to shape a mysterious future.
  • “Find the Lady,” by Nicholas Fisk, is a post-apocalyptic, end-of-the-world story of a few survivors pitting their wits against incomprehensible invaders.
  • “No Day Too Long,” by Jewelle Gomez, tells of a vampire who’s lonely but  hesitates to get involved with short-lived humans.
  • “Full Fathom Five My Father Lies,” by Rand B. Lee, gradually reveals the morals and lives of what turns out to be a lost colony.
  • “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones,” by Samuel R. Delany, explores love, pain, and the economics of crime. Classic story with one of the great titles.

The book is edited by Camilla Decarnin, Eric Garber, and Lynn Paleo.

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