aklatlibro's review

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Open for Business by Sam S. Kepfield - 4 stars
Composition in Death Minor by K.G. Jewell - 3 stars
Spaceman Barbecue by Peter Wood- 5 stars
Obsidianite by Kat Otis - 1 star
Starship Down by Tracy Canfield - 1 star
Backscatter by Gregory Benford - 3 stars
A Game of Hold'em by Wendy Sparrow - 5 stars
From a Stone by Eric Choi - 1 star
Charnelhouse by Jonathan Shipley - 3 stars
Bear Essentials by Julie Frost - 2 stars
The Vringla/Racket Incident by Jakob Drud - 4 stars
A Trip to Lagasy by Barbara Davies - 3 stars
Saturn Slingshot by David Wesley Hill - 1 star

davecreek's review

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FAR ORBIT, in the words of its editor Bascomb James, is an anthology of what he calls Grand Tradition science fiction. The emphasis, he says, is on adventure with an emphasis on the human element.

And this anthology succeeds. It's "old-fashioned" SF, concentrating on storytelling and not on the complexity of its prose. In other words, it's the pure genre stuff, with spaceships and aliens and unknown worlds and all the things that attracted many of us to the field in the first place.

For me, highlights included "Open for Business," by Sam S. KIepfield, about the attempt to fetch an asteroid worth at least $10 trillion for the iron and precious metals within it, and Gregory Benford's "Backscatter," one of the few reprints, about a woman who is about to die after crash-landing on an asteroid who makes an unexpected discovery, and, no doubt, a bit of history.

There are a lot of asteroids in these stories.

Best of all, a second volume is on the way. I'll be looking forward to it.

silelda's review

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I needed this book. I didn't realize how much I needed it until I started reading the stories and realized I was mentally prepping myself for all negative outcomes. Sci-Fi has become littered with depressing stories and this book was just the antidote I needed for all that negativity.

Almost every story in this book left me feeling better than before I had read it. They are upbeat and hopeful about humanities chances without being sappy. There's still death and destruction, but you root for your heroes and don't feel traumatized afterwards.

Also, while every story deals with space, each story has a different aspect of space Sci-Fi. One story has a contemporary location and technology. One story is about space pirates. Another story is about space cowboys. There is so much variation on the theme of Positive Space Sci-Fi. It's awesome!

So if you're tired of scary, judgmental Sci-Fi, or if you want a collection of good reads, I highly recommend Far Orbit from World Weaver Press. I was so happy to read this book. It was a buoy in a time of grim, dark reads.

jameskemp's review

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This is a collection of modern science fiction in the classic style, it has a positive feel and dystopias aren't allowed, at least not in a grim pass the razor blades sort of way. I really enjoyed the collection and there are a few authors in there that I need to go and see what else they've written.

I bought this anthology because I have been thinking about submitting stories for publication, and I saw an article that there would be a follow-up anthology called Apogee from the same anthologist. Also I like reading science fiction, and short stories are easier to read when I'm studying (and I'm in the middle of B203, which is a real monster). Having read the stories in it I was inspired, I've outlined a story and written a couple of thousand words towards it.

I started reading this just before Christmas, and read the stories in one or two sittings each over the Christmas break, largely in snatched chunks between other things. A week or three after reading them a number still stand out. I'll outline them in order in the kindle version I read rather than ranking by preference.

'Open for Business' by Sam S Kepfield
A very believable take on how asteroid mining might start. A group of university friends with the right sort of degrees and work experience hatch a plan for grabbing an asteroid and putting it in orbit so that it can be mined. The consequences were very entertaining and absolutely what you might expect.

'Starship Down' by Tracy Canfield
A lovely take on intervention with less advanced aliens. In both cases. Humans are tasked with helping out a race of space rabbits (not actual rabbits, but their behaviours are similar) by more advanced aliens in return for technology. The main character is out on her own thousands of miles from the next nearest human and giving medical aid to the bunnies. She's also trying to teach them things that might be useful to advance themselves, like a concept of time and numbers bigger than 'some'. It reminded me of some of the Iain M Banks stuff I'd read in terms of the consequences of intervention in others affairs (although I cannot imagine Banks going there with giant bunnies!)

'A Game of Hold 'Em' by Wendy Sparrow
This is one that could just as easily be set in the pre-civil war Southern states of America. However it isn't a tale that's just had its setting switched. It shows a futuristic take on slave holding and the methods to keep people in thrall. Very thought provoking.

'From a Stone' by Eric Choi
How do you tell if something is natural or constructed by intelligence? This is a take on funding constrained scientific exploration of the solar system and an unexpected find. Bureaucracy gets in the way of a time constrained scientific mission, stopping on the way back from somewhere else the mission has 72 hours to catalogue the asteroid. After that the window for return to Earth is closed. The story is a detailed and believable first person one from the scientists. You get a sense of their wonder and excitement and wish to know more.

PS this isn't all the stories in the volume, just the ones that made me think and/or stuck in my head. I don't think any of the others were bad or not worth reading, these just stood out for me. Your mix may well be different.