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CENTAURUS by David G. Hartwell


The Best of Australian Science Fiction

by David G. Hartwell, Damien Broderick

Pub Date: July 7th, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-86556-2
Publisher: Tor

Not the first volume of Australian SF (editor Van Iken’s rather indiscriminate collection arrived here in 1984) but by far the most significant: 20 substantial tales from the modern era, the majority of whose authors will be familiar to Kirkus regulars and SF-story buffs. A. Bertram Chandler (1912—84) offers an ingenious explanation for why Australian Aborigines revere Ayer’s Rock. From George Turner (1916—97) comes an interstellar war/alien contact yarn. David J. Lake’s ingenious time-machine travels only into the future, but his time traveler encounters only civilizations that roll time backward. Sean Williams describes a mine where the deeper you go, the weirder things get. Leann Frahm battles interdimensional invaders; Stephen Dedman’s alternate-worlds yarn is guaranteed to upset the bigots; and Sean McMullen posits a genetically engineered, stable Earth in the future. People develop new perceptions of time in Cherry Wilder’s post-disaster story, and Greg Egan’s brilliant alien-contact yarn, “Wang’s Carpets,” was incorporated into his magnificent 1998 novel, Diaspora. Other prospects include religion and DNA, cyberpunk, a story set in a universe created by Larry Niven, and a genetic lottery. A substantial and impressive showcase. If you considered Australia too remote and sparsely populated to be science fictionally important—well, think again.