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Old 08-13-2014, 01:15 AM   #1
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Recent (hard) Sci-Fi Short Story Collections

I've been away from hard Sci-Fi for quite some years, but seem to be in the mood for it again now. I'd rather start with some short story collections; thinking here along the the lines of what Asmiov, Clarke and others used to publish (collections previously published in magazines etc.). Thought provoking stuff that takes the current state of science and does something interesting with it. (I'm not usually a fan of short stories, but I think they often work best for this sort of thing.)

Suggestions? Are there many out there doing this sort of thing anymore?
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:21 AM   #2
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If you don't mind a sub-genre of SF you might want to look at some of the links for Steampunk I posted in the deals,freebees and resouces forum. They are collections of short stories for the most part.
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:36 AM   #3
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You might want to take a look at Engineering Infinity, Edge of Infinity, and Reach for Infinity (ed Jonathan Strahan).
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Old 08-13-2014, 03:57 AM   #4
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crich20, I wouldn't normally have associated Steampunk with hard science fiction. Do you know if these qualify? (I know the dividing line between science fiction and fantasy can be quite blurry, it is after all, all fiction. But I'm looking for something that takes the science side seriously, and is reasonably current.)

Meera, those look exactly like the sort of suggestions I was hoping for. With the added bonus of having a few authors that I know along with some new ones to look forward to. Thanks very much.
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Old 08-13-2014, 04:00 AM   #5
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Meera, those look exactly like the sort of suggestions I was hoping for. With the added bonus of having a few authors that I know along with some new ones to look forward to. Thanks very much.
You're welcome - enjoy.
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:56 AM   #6
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Any of the short story collections by Greg Egan will do. I think he's pretty much the modern master of hard (insanely, brain crushingly hard) sci-fi.

... the guy writes Java applets to help readers with the science in his books.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgbino View Post
Any of the short story collections by Greg Egan will do. I think he's pretty much the modern master of hard (insanely, brain crushingly hard) sci-fi.

... the guy writes Java applets to help readers with the science in his books.
+1. If you want your SF hard enough to scratch diamond, Egan is the go-to guy.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:43 AM   #8
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There's a short story collection by David Brinn. The Crystal Spheres, I think. Very fine stuff. Gibson's Burning Chrome is great too. Charles Sheffield's The Complete McAndrew, too. Old, but you probably don't know it.

If you like hard sci-fi, The Martian is very popular, and very hard, but it's a novel.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
crich20, I wouldn't normally have associated Steampunk with hard science fiction. Do you know if these qualify? (I know the dividing line between science fiction and fantasy can be quite blurry, it is after all, all fiction. But I'm looking for something that takes the science side seriously, and is reasonably current.)

Meera, those look exactly like the sort of suggestions I was hoping for. With the added bonus of having a few authors that I know along with some new ones to look forward to. Thanks very much.
Well air ships, steam powered vehicles and clockwork are all real technologies. And many stories are based in what was known of science back in the era where Steampunk is set. Some are even alternate realities set in the present day I understand.
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:35 AM   #10
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I see Greg Egan has been a busy boy since I last looked his way, I'll be sure to check some out (there's even a short in one of the books Meeera suggested). Thanks.

As for the "insanely" and "diamond" hard labels (but not saying anything about Greg Egan) I do expect even hard science fiction to have an accessible and entertaining story and reasonable characters. A few authors guilty of forgetting this are among the reasons why I parted ways with hard SciFi for so long.

Rizla, I'm certainly be interested in getting some more David Brin. William Gibson wasn't so much to my tastes last I tried, but I probably should give him another go. For some reason The Compleat McAndrew rings a bell with me, couldn't tell you why, pretty sure I've not read any Charles Sheffield - maybe it's time I did. Thanks.


One of the reasons for starting to look for more recent SciFi was sitting down to some older stuff and finding myself amused and saddened by various aspects that relate to their age. A common (sad) one is there was a time when it was confidently believed we would be in space and colonising the moon and Mars long before now. (It seems that anyone thinking otherwise just wasn't being realistic.) As I understand it, the reasons why this hasn't happened are mostly societal - social sciences being among the sciences sadly missing from the old SciFi (except, occasionally, as related to aliens). I'm curious to read some recent stuff as a direct contrast and comparison to that - the view then vs the view now.

Last edited by gmw; 08-14-2014 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 08-14-2014, 10:00 AM   #11
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One of the reasons for starting to look for more recent SciFi was sitting down to some older stuff and finding myself amused and saddened by various aspects that relate to their age. A common (sad) one is there was a time when it was confidently believed we would be in space and colonising the moon and Mars long before now. (It seems that anyone thinking otherwise just wasn't being realistic.) As I understand it, the reasons why this hasn't happened are mostly societal - social sciences being among the sciences sadly missing from the old SciFi (except, occasionally, as related to aliens). I'm curious to read some recent stuff as a direct contrast and comparison to that - the view then vs the view now.
Then I would recommend Stephen Baxter's NASA books, such as Voyage, which is an alternate history of the space age where a manned mission to Mars is launched after Apollo.
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:34 PM   #12
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I see Greg Egan has been a busy boy since I last looked his way, I'll be sure to check some out (there's even a short in one of the books Meeera suggested). Thanks.

As for the "insanely" and "diamond" hard labels (but not saying anything about Greg Egan) I do expect even hard science fiction to have an accessible and entertaining story and reasonable characters. A few authors guilty of forgetting this are among the reasons why I parted ways with hard SciFi for so long.
You may want to check out anything by Karl Schroeder, if you haven't already. He's a hard sci-fi guy, probably as hard as anyone not named Greg Egan, but his strength is definitely his ability to integrate hard science into a highly readable adventure novel type framework.
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Old 08-14-2014, 01:39 PM   #13
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These are the best hard SF short stories I've read recently:

Charles Sheffield, Georgia on my Mind (1993).
Ted Chiang, The Lifecycle of Software Objects (2010).
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Old 08-14-2014, 01:54 PM   #14
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Depending on how long you were away from SF, check our Vernor Vinge's short stories. His 'hardness' varies from tale to tale. I especially like his cyberpunk stuff.
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Old 08-14-2014, 03:00 PM   #15
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Hey... this one sounds interesting!

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Ted Chiang, The Lifecycle of Software Objects (2010).
How can it be that a SF book is so hard to find in ebook format?

http://subterraneanpress.com/store/p..._objects_ebook

All of the links to buy it are dead...
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