Category Archives: reviews

New Rocket Science review

The latest copy of Vector, the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association, landed on my doormat at the end of last week. No. 217, Winter 2012, includes a review of Rocket Science by Alastair Reynolds. He writes:

There are no bad stories here – even the clunkiest … has the saving grace of being likeable, which is no mean achievement. But perhaps the best story in the book, and the one that closes the volume, is the piece most clearly fixated on the past, Sean Martin’s ‘Dreaming at Baikonur’.


source: Torque Control

Alastair also describes ‘Dancing on the Red Planet’ as “surreal but note-perfect”, ‘Tell Me A Story’ as “charming”, ‘Pathfinders’ as “bleakly clever” and highlights ‘The Complexity of the Humble Spacesuit’ as the best of “a generally excellent bunch” of non-fiction pieces.

I can live with that…



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New review of Rocket Science

Strange Horizons has published a review of Rocket Science, written by Dan Hartland. As is usually the case for Strange Horizons, it’s a long and in-depth review, and it says, among other things that “there are, it must be re-emphasised, good stories here”, and that Rocket Science is “a diverting attempt not so much to reimagine silly old science fiction and its continuing attachment to a Jetsons paradigm, but to consider what spaceflight means to us today, in our changing and challenging world”.

I can’t quote every comment made on every story or piece of non-fiction, but…

Karen Burnham’s gloriously detailed – and thoroughly awe-inspiring – ‘The Complexity of the Humble Spacesuit’

… and …

David L Clements’s account of his real-life involvement in the launch of a satellite is as gripping as any fiction

Source: NASA

Source: NASA

… and …

Sam S Kepfield’s entertaining and convincing alternative Soviet history, ‘Not Because They are Easy’

… and ….

One of the collection’s most inventive stories is Stephen Palmer’s ‘A Biosphere Ends’

The full review can be found here.

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New Review

My copy of the latest issue of Interzone – #241, July-August 2012 – arrived on Thursday, and in its Book Zone on page 50 is a review of Rocket Science.

Source: TTA Press

The reviewer, Ian Hunter, singles out Karen Burnham’s ‘The Complexity of the Humble Spacesuit’ and adds “likewise, Bill Patterson’s ‘A Ray of Sunshine’ is a joy”.

Of the fiction, he admits to preferring the “humorous or irreverent” ones, and mentions those by Berit Ellingsen, Simon McCaffery, Gary Cuba and Helen Jackson. For the serious stories, he names those by Stephen Palmer and Craig Pay. He also writes that Leigh Kimmel’s ‘Tell Me A Story’ was a perfect opener for the anthology, and “would have been a perfect way to end it too”.

Rocket Science“, Ian Hunter writes in his review, “is a mighty fine collection and worth seeking out.”

Incidentally, the selfsame issue also contains a story by Rocket Science contributor CJ Paget. It’s the story with which he won the James White Award, ‘Invocation of the Lurker’.

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More reviews

Another two reviews of Rocket Science, and they’re both complimentary.

First, “Seregil of Rhiminee” on Rising Shadow describes Rocket Science as “one of the best anthologies of 2012”. See his full review here.

And Paul F Cockburn reviews the anthology on The Zone makes it clear that Rocket Science is “excellent”. See his review here.


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Another review

Science fiction author Jaine Fenn has posted a review of Rocket Science on her blog here. Stand-out stories for her were those by Stephen Gaskell, CJ Paget, Deborah Walker and Simon McCaffery. Stand-out non-fiction article was Karen Burnham’s ‘The Complexities of the Humble Spacesuit’.Jaine writes:

I had also been mildly concerned that there might be a degree of backward-facing stubborn whimsy – by which I mean the kind of ‘man (and it was always a man) against the harsh alien environment’ stories you see in magazines like Analog. However, although the settings and set-ups could have gone that way – the perils of off-world environments feature strongly – the overall tone and issues explored belong in our century, not the last one, and this I applaud.

I have also added a Reviews tab to this blog, where I’ll post quotes and links of all the reviews of Rocket Science which appear.

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Flight notes

The second print run of Rocket Science was delivered at the end of April and the book continues to sell well. A version for Kindle is imminent. Meanwhile, a couple of reviews have appeared. There’s this one here from Geek Chocolate which is, I think, positive:

Overall, the quality of the writing is consistently high…

And here’s another from The Future Fire which is definitely positive.

…I am usually more interested in the philosophical, political and sociological side of science fiction. Yet I was immediately at home here, comfortable and in many cases utterly riveted.

Source: NASA

I’ll post links to, and quotes from, other reviews as they appear, whether online or in print.


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First review

I was at the Eastercon in London over the weekend, or I’d have posted this the moment I knew about it. Rocket Science has been reviewed in the Guardian here. Reviewer Eric Brown picks out the stories by Craig Pay, Stephen Palmer and Deborah Walker, though he does say the standard of stories in the anthology is “very high”. He finishes his review with the word “superb”. Needless to say, I’m very happy.

The launch at Eastercon also went well, and I’ll be posting a write-up of that later today.


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