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Eclipse 2: New Science Fiction and Fantasy

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An eclipse is a rare and unusual event, when the world is transformed and the sky becomes a dark eldritch thing. It's a time when anything could happen, when any kind of story just might be true. That sense of the strange and wonderful guides Eclipse: New Science Fiction and Fantasy, the second volume in an exciting new annual anthology series edited by acclaimed anthologi An eclipse is a rare and unusual event, when the world is transformed and the sky becomes a dark eldritch thing. It's a time when anything could happen, when any kind of story just might be true. That sense of the strange and wonderful guides Eclipse: New Science Fiction and Fantasy, the second volume in an exciting new annual anthology series edited by acclaimed anthologist Jonathan Strahan. Set to become a major event on the science fiction and fantasy calendar, Eclipse: New Science Fiction and Fantasy gathers together new science fiction and fantasy stories by the best writers working today. You can see that in Eclipse Two, which features more extraordinary tales of the fantastic and astounding. Contents Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom • (2008) • by David Moles Elevator • (2008) • by Nancy Kress Ex Cathedra • (2008) • by Tony Daniel Exhalation • (2008) • by Ted Chiang Fury • (2008) • by Alastair Reynolds Invisible Empire of Ascending Light • (2008) • by Ken Scholes Michael Laurits Is: DROWNING • (2008) • by Paul Cornell Night of the Firstlings • (2008) • by Margo Lanagan Skin Deep • (2008) • by Richard Parks The Hero • [Virga] • (2008) • by Karl Schroeder The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm • (2008) • by Daryl Gregory The Rabbi's Hobby • (2008) • by Peter S. Beagle The Seventh Expression of the Robot General • (2008) • by Jeffrey Ford Truth Window: A Tale of the Bedlam Rose • (Wormwood / Nobodoi) • (2008) • by Terry Dowling Turing's Apples • (2008) • by Stephen Baxter


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An eclipse is a rare and unusual event, when the world is transformed and the sky becomes a dark eldritch thing. It's a time when anything could happen, when any kind of story just might be true. That sense of the strange and wonderful guides Eclipse: New Science Fiction and Fantasy, the second volume in an exciting new annual anthology series edited by acclaimed anthologi An eclipse is a rare and unusual event, when the world is transformed and the sky becomes a dark eldritch thing. It's a time when anything could happen, when any kind of story just might be true. That sense of the strange and wonderful guides Eclipse: New Science Fiction and Fantasy, the second volume in an exciting new annual anthology series edited by acclaimed anthologist Jonathan Strahan. Set to become a major event on the science fiction and fantasy calendar, Eclipse: New Science Fiction and Fantasy gathers together new science fiction and fantasy stories by the best writers working today. You can see that in Eclipse Two, which features more extraordinary tales of the fantastic and astounding. Contents Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom • (2008) • by David Moles Elevator • (2008) • by Nancy Kress Ex Cathedra • (2008) • by Tony Daniel Exhalation • (2008) • by Ted Chiang Fury • (2008) • by Alastair Reynolds Invisible Empire of Ascending Light • (2008) • by Ken Scholes Michael Laurits Is: DROWNING • (2008) • by Paul Cornell Night of the Firstlings • (2008) • by Margo Lanagan Skin Deep • (2008) • by Richard Parks The Hero • [Virga] • (2008) • by Karl Schroeder The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm • (2008) • by Daryl Gregory The Rabbi's Hobby • (2008) • by Peter S. Beagle The Seventh Expression of the Robot General • (2008) • by Jeffrey Ford Truth Window: A Tale of the Bedlam Rose • (Wormwood / Nobodoi) • (2008) • by Terry Dowling Turing's Apples • (2008) • by Stephen Baxter

30 review for Eclipse 2: New Science Fiction and Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Review for the Hugo award-winning “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang, first posted on Fantasy Literature: An alien scientist describes the life of its people, who are robots that depend on regular refills of the gas argon for their brains to function. They swap out “lungs,” aluminum cylinders filled with this gas, at filling stations, which are community centers for their race. At a filling station, the scientist hears rumors that clocks in several different districts are running too fast, although horol Review for the Hugo award-winning “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang, first posted on Fantasy Literature: An alien scientist describes the life of its people, who are robots that depend on regular refills of the gas argon for their brains to function. They swap out “lungs,” aluminum cylinders filled with this gas, at filling stations, which are community centers for their race. At a filling station, the scientist hears rumors that clocks in several different districts are running too fast, although horologists cannot find any defect in the clocks. The scientist, a student of anatomy, theorizes that it is in fact the brains of this race of people that are running slower, rather than the clocks running faster. The scientist embarks on a daring, risky experiment on its own brain to determine whether its hypothesis is correct. The results of this experiment, and the knowledge it brings to the scientist and others, bring bitterness and a sense of futility to many, but the scientist also has hope. Its reflections on the marvelous variety of life, and how other races in the universe might discover the scientist’s people and their fate in some distant future, imbue this story with a sense of wonder and make the ideas and concerns of this mechanical being, who is a thinking, feeling person, both universal and personal to us as readers and human beings. This 2008 short story is free to read online at Lightspeed Magazine.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alina

    This review is only for Exhalation by TED CHIANG. An exquisite meditation and rejoicing upon existence itself. It came perfectly after recently I've done exactly that! For a second there, it made me think of Smoking Ears and Screaming Teeth: A Celebration of Scientific Eccentricity and Self-Experimentation: "I could not ask anyone else to risk themselves for the sake of anatomical inquiry, and because I wished to conduct the dissection myself, I would not be satisfied by merely being the passive su This review is only for Exhalation by TED CHIANG. An exquisite meditation and rejoicing upon existence itself. It came perfectly after recently I've done exactly that! For a second there, it made me think of Smoking Ears and Screaming Teeth: A Celebration of Scientific Eccentricity and Self-Experimentation: "I could not ask anyone else to risk themselves for the sake of anatomical inquiry, and because I wished to conduct the dissection myself, I would not be satisfied by merely being the passive subject of such an operation. Auto-dissection was the only option."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    Exhalation by TED CHIANG An exquisite philosophical introspection of the surrounding universe, meaning of life and what makes us who we are. High-class tech sci-fi; if you loved Stories of Your Life and Others, you'll love this one too. Can be read here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic... Exhalation by TED CHIANG An exquisite philosophical introspection of the surrounding universe, meaning of life and what makes us who we are. High-class tech sci-fi; if you loved Stories of Your Life and Others, you'll love this one too. Can be read here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Exhalation by Ted Chiang. Such a strange tale, told from what I think is the perspective of some type of robotic scientist in another universe searching to uncover the mysteries of what makes his kind tick, and in doing so probing into the mysteries of the birth and death of the universe and the beauty and purpose of life. Short and highly recommended! Free audio available on Escape Pod. Exhalation by Ted Chiang. Such a strange tale, told from what I think is the perspective of some type of robotic scientist in another universe searching to uncover the mysteries of what makes his kind tick, and in doing so probing into the mysteries of the birth and death of the universe and the beauty and purpose of life. Short and highly recommended! Free audio available on Escape Pod.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    4.5 stars. Excellent short story. Beautifully written and original, this story shows the power and importance of the Science Ficiton short story. Winner: Hugo Award for Best Short Story (2009).

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aloke

    Not sure how this ended up in my read list, I don't recall reading it BUT it does have a great story by Ted Chiang in it which can also be read online at: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic... Not sure how this ended up in my read list, I don't recall reading it BUT it does have a great story by Ted Chiang in it which can also be read online at: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Fangfang

    When breath becomes air...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tim Pendry

    A remarkable story although it requires a willingness to think rather than feel. it postulates an entire alternate universe where the inhabitants show the same curiosity as we do about our universe and come to their own bleak existential view about its ultimate meaning. It is, in short, a parable about the human condition and the pursuit of science. The alien scientist is presented as no different from us in that pursuit even if he is very different from us in his own physical make-up. A highly i A remarkable story although it requires a willingness to think rather than feel. it postulates an entire alternate universe where the inhabitants show the same curiosity as we do about our universe and come to their own bleak existential view about its ultimate meaning. It is, in short, a parable about the human condition and the pursuit of science. The alien scientist is presented as no different from us in that pursuit even if he is very different from us in his own physical make-up. A highly intellectual piece that makes no concessions to the reader.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Avi Singh

    4.5 stars

  10. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    As with all anthologies, I liked some stories more than others. The best were really good. Highlights: * The Big Hit: “Exhalation” • short story by Ted Chiang. Winner: 2009 Hugo, 2008 BSFA. Intricate story of self-exploration by a sentient robot(?). Not reread this time, not one of my favorites of his. 3.5 stars. Here’s a free reprint: http://www.nightshadebooks.com/Downlo... * The Hero • novelette by Karl Schroeder. Capital bugs! Reprint, Dozois #26, 2009, read there first (and second). Part of h As with all anthologies, I liked some stories more than others. The best were really good. Highlights: * The Big Hit: “Exhalation” • short story by Ted Chiang. Winner: 2009 Hugo, 2008 BSFA. Intricate story of self-exploration by a sentient robot(?). Not reread this time, not one of my favorites of his. 3.5 stars. Here’s a free reprint: http://www.nightshadebooks.com/Downlo... * The Hero • novelette by Karl Schroeder. Capital bugs! Reprint, Dozois #26, 2009, read there first (and second). Part of his “Virga” series. 4 stars * Turing's Apples • short story by Stephen Baxter. Messages from the alien Eaglets cause problems. A variant of the “Contact” scenario. Reprinted in Dozois #27, read there first. 3.5 stars * Invisible Empire of Ascending Light • (2008) • short story by Ken Scholes. A Galactic religious empire trembles on the edge of civil war. Huh. I liked it, mostly. 3.5 stars? The also-rans & the duds: * The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm • (2008) • novelette by Daryl Gregory. Read first in the Dozois #26. Giant slaybot, superhero wars. Eh, 2.5 stars * Elevator • (2008) • short story by Nancy Kress. 7 people stuck in a hospital elevator. Bounced off this one. Not for me! * Michael Laurits Is: DROWNING • (2008) • short story by Paul Cornell. Facebook-like stuff. Bounced. * Ex Cathedra • novelette by Tony Daniel. Liked the infinite desk! Otherwise, couldn’t make heads or tails of this one. Hell with it. * Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom • novelette by David Moles. Gaming story, goes on & on & on. Skimmed. Has moments, but not for me. Go-to reviews are by Lightreads and Hirondelle, nearby. As always with anthologies, your mileage will vary!

  11. 5 out of 5

    A Mig

    Ted Chiang makes us plunge into a world where humans are robots, where future history looks like an old Past, where physics is turned upside down with air becoming energy. On top of this we get to experience with the narrator a self-surgery on his mechanical brain, which is vividly portrayed - and let’s not forget about those clocks going faster, all at once, or do they really?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ninja

    A little patchy at times, but some really good stuff. Heavily biased on the sci-fi side, but the 3 or so fantasy stories were all really strong. Best story was by Chiang.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Knecht

    This was the first story I read by Ted Chiang and I got shivers toward the end of the story. The narrative is simple and metaphorical. In an alternative universe there exist other beings which brains work based on air pressure. Like us, they are also curious and discover that the nature of their universe tends toward equilibrium and that their own existence tends to bring about that equilibrium. What mindset should those beings adopt? Should they be hopeful, afraid, grateful? Should some beings This was the first story I read by Ted Chiang and I got shivers toward the end of the story. The narrative is simple and metaphorical. In an alternative universe there exist other beings which brains work based on air pressure. Like us, they are also curious and discover that the nature of their universe tends toward equilibrium and that their own existence tends to bring about that equilibrium. What mindset should those beings adopt? Should they be hopeful, afraid, grateful? Should some beings try to transcend their being through their art, poetry, and writings?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    2.5 stars for Ted Chiang's Exhalation Winner of the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Short Story I liked the idea but not the writing. You can read it here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic... or here: http://www.nightshadebooks.com/Downlo... 2.5 stars for Ted Chiang's Exhalation Winner of the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Short Story I liked the idea but not the writing. You can read it here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic... or here: http://www.nightshadebooks.com/Downlo...

  15. 5 out of 5

    DebbieB

    Excellent. Each story contains an amazing thought experiment.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Egil

    Ted Chinag's story was awesome. Others were pretty good and a couple of stinkers..

  17. 4 out of 5

    Noah M.

    I've read about half of the stories in this anthology, so unless the other half are absolute shit I feel comfortable in rating it. Ted Chiang, Alastair Reynolds, and Stephen Baxter all have wonderful, interesting stories in there. Especially the Ted Chiang story "Exhalation." God that was amazing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carl

    Worth it for Peter Beagle's "The Rabbi's Hobby". Also includes Ted Chiang's Hugo-nominated "Exhalation", and many other fine stories. Margo Lanagan's "Night of the Firstlings" could be an excerpt from the Ace double novel "God of Chaos/Thing With Three Souls".

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hirondelle

    Of course I bought it for the Chiang story and read it first. And it´s sublime, as usual, just perfect. Though I am pretty sure I am missing theories about what universe it really describes (chromium sphere?). Of the rest I am trying to read by order: The Hero by Karl Schroeder - me shallow but did not get into at the first pages and quit. Turing´s Apples by Stephen Baxter - oh dear, the future it describes looks more like what the 20th century expected the 21st to look like. Pop singles being top Of course I bought it for the Chiang story and read it first. And it´s sublime, as usual, just perfect. Though I am pretty sure I am missing theories about what universe it really describes (chromium sphere?). Of the rest I am trying to read by order: The Hero by Karl Schroeder - me shallow but did not get into at the first pages and quit. Turing´s Apples by Stephen Baxter - oh dear, the future it describes looks more like what the 20th century expected the 21st to look like. Pop singles being top of the charts, no, the world no longer goes like that much less 2020 something. It felt very Clarkian but without the hope. Invisible Empire of Ascending Light by Ken Scholes - I liked it so much, am going to look for his novels now. Sort of vaguely Gene Wolfe-like, this big sense of galactic empires and subtle politics. Michael Laurits is: Drowned by Paul Cornell - at least this feels like a future which fits out future, which I can see sort of happening. Night of the Firstlings by Margo Lanagan - ah clever and well written, *that* story then. Liked it, though was not awed by it. Elevator by Nancy Kress - a Twilight Zone-ish story of people stuck in a hospital elevator. Meh. The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm by Daryl Gregory - a take on superhero wars from the PoV of the populace in the supervillain country. Drama rather than humour, and very good. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by David Moles - a virtual gaming social-political story. Interesting but my evaluation is biased, because the later-written (but which I personally read earlier) The Lifecycle of Software Objects reminds me of some of these ideas but is IMO much better written and more dramatic. The Rabbi's Hobby by Peter Beagle - charming, a jewish-american supernatural tale set in the 1950s with a touch of child detective genius. Beautifully written, I loved the characters, I will recommend the story, but I do see some might think it a bit pointless... The Seventh Expression of the Robot General by Jeffrey Ford - a satirical take on a sf-ish military robot. Very Sladek. Liked it. Skin Deep by Richard Parks - a fantasy one, a take on witches and free choice. I did not like it much. Ex Cathedra by Tony Daniel - a very ambitious story indeed. Ambitious on plot ( destiny of the universe, or at least humanity´s destiny) and technique which is rather non-linear telling. It worked for me and I liked it. Truth Window: A Tale of the Bedlam Rose by Terry Dowling - I don´t know if the author wrote more set in this universe but it felt to me this was a short story written in a much too complex universe and setting for a short story. Or at least with too much *stuff* as background. It even had an introduction. And I did not like it much. Fury by Alastair Reynolds - an asimovian short story with galactic emperors, a setting I was predisposed to enjoy. But the story feels rather empty, a lot of tell and little show, and very little human interest.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    Just a great collection and all that Eclipse 1 promised but did not quite deliver for me - Eclipse 1 had good tales but they ran towards slipstream and fantasy and there it's hit or miss. Eclipse 2 is solidly sf and has brilliant masterpiece stories from Tony Daniel, Ted Chiang, superb stories from A. Reynolds and David Moles and great stories from S. Baxter, J. Ford, K. Scholes, T. Dowling and P. Cornell with the rest not that interesting for me, but the stories that connected did so big time ( Just a great collection and all that Eclipse 1 promised but did not quite deliver for me - Eclipse 1 had good tales but they ran towards slipstream and fantasy and there it's hit or miss. Eclipse 2 is solidly sf and has brilliant masterpiece stories from Tony Daniel, Ted Chiang, superb stories from A. Reynolds and David Moles and great stories from S. Baxter, J. Ford, K. Scholes, T. Dowling and P. Cornell with the rest not that interesting for me, but the stories that connected did so big time (9 out 15 total, but with one unread since I do not follow the Virga universe and one unread since I bought the e-Webscription version and the Lanagan story is not included for rights reasons - in fact neither is the Chiang but that is availble free online)

  21. 5 out of 5

    bluetyson

    Eclipse 2: New Science Fiction and Fantasy by Jonathan Strahan (2008)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Charles Loelius

    Until I read this I thought that Hell is the Absence of God was the greatest science fiction story not only by Chiang, but in general. As you might have guessed by now, I was very wrong. The only thing I can say about this story is that it is beautiful, elegant, sparse in just the right way. This is so far, in my mind, the pinnacle of all of Chiang's works, asking the big questions in just the right way. What the story is, a meditation on existance, an exploration of another world, one vast metap Until I read this I thought that Hell is the Absence of God was the greatest science fiction story not only by Chiang, but in general. As you might have guessed by now, I was very wrong. The only thing I can say about this story is that it is beautiful, elegant, sparse in just the right way. This is so far, in my mind, the pinnacle of all of Chiang's works, asking the big questions in just the right way. What the story is, a meditation on existance, an exploration of another world, one vast metaphor, I cannot say. It is all these things and more. The character, for there is only one, is perhaps his greatest yet, as much prop as person and yet so much more. This is a story that defies all catagories and surpasses all of them. It is my predicition that this will be this years Hugo winner.

  23. 5 out of 5

    kvon

    He starts with positing a mechanical life form, and ends up with entropy, death, and the joy of life. No backstory, only futurestory.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lightreads

    Stories Jonathan Strahan likes round two: more scifi, fewer women. I picked through this over several months, so random impressions from stories actually interesting enough to remember: Ted Chiang, "Exhalation": The reason I picked up the collection, and totally worth it. Classic Chiang, if a bit didactic in that way he can pull off. I won't bother trying to describe it, because it's available here and you should all go read it. Stephen Baxter, "Turing's Apples." Classic Baxter: interesting Big Id Stories Jonathan Strahan likes round two: more scifi, fewer women. I picked through this over several months, so random impressions from stories actually interesting enough to remember: Ted Chiang, "Exhalation": The reason I picked up the collection, and totally worth it. Classic Chiang, if a bit didactic in that way he can pull off. I won't bother trying to describe it, because it's available here and you should all go read it. Stephen Baxter, "Turing's Apples." Classic Baxter: interesting Big Idea, terrible character work, that perpetual feeling that the sentence after next is going to really annoy me. Peter S. Beagle, "The Rabbi's Hobby." I think I'm missing the Beagle gene or something. I can look at this ghost story and think about all the good atmosphere and character work, and yet? Meh. Nothing happens. Paul Cornell, "Michael Lorits is: Drowning." Not really a story, about the future of social networking. Well-executed and entertaining. Tony Daniel, "Ex Cathedra." Swear to God, I can't tell if this story about the end of the universe is great or utter nonsense. I think it's great. Terry Dowling, "Truth Window: A Tale of the Bedlam Rose." Maybe this would have been interesting if I knew the surrounding universe? *shrug* Nancy Kress, "Elevator." People in a hospital locked in an elevator, with one of the worst and most idiotic disability clichés front and center. Yuck. Alastair Reynolds, "Fury." Strangely disappointing and obvious story about robot brothers and a galactic empire. I expect better from him. Ken Scholes, "Invisible Empire of Ascending Light." A premise that really grabbed me, and an execution that was almost there. Cool politics, cooler world-building that I won't spoil. It made me want to read his fantasy novels.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris March

    A story by a favorite sci-fi author of mine. I found the beginning slow, but I was glad I kept going, since he explores a unique perspective, and interesting concepts. Read it here: http://www.nightshadebooks.com/Downlo... A story by a favorite sci-fi author of mine. I found the beginning slow, but I was glad I kept going, since he explores a unique perspective, and interesting concepts. Read it here: http://www.nightshadebooks.com/Downlo...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

    Shared here: http://1dl.us/9D Shared here: http://1dl.us/9D

  27. 4 out of 5

    Titus L

    quirky and bit grotesque steampunk for i robot......

  28. 4 out of 5

    Suhrob

    Mechanical beings face an aerostatic version of the heat death of the Universe... can they find life transcending solace? Beautiful and intelligent... Read here: http://www.nightshadebooks.com/Downlo... Listen here: http://escapepod.org/2009/04/10/ep194... Mechanical beings face an aerostatic version of the heat death of the Universe... can they find life transcending solace? Beautiful and intelligent... Read here: http://www.nightshadebooks.com/Downlo... Listen here: http://escapepod.org/2009/04/10/ep194...

  29. 4 out of 5

    mark

    Ted Chiang can do no wrong

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ric

    A unique story that only Ted Chiang can write. Somewhere in the middle of reading it, I had the disorienting sense of going through a technical manual on a strange, new argon-powered device. And yet, it was not unentertaining. In another's hands, this might have been as bad as root canal, but Chiang's skilled writing makes it all work. Bravo! A unique story that only Ted Chiang can write. Somewhere in the middle of reading it, I had the disorienting sense of going through a technical manual on a strange, new argon-powered device. And yet, it was not unentertaining. In another's hands, this might have been as bad as root canal, but Chiang's skilled writing makes it all work. Bravo!

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