NORTHERN SUNS by David G. Hartwell

NORTHERN SUNS

KIRKUS REVIEW

A companion volume to the 1994 hardcover collection of science fiction stories, Northern Stars (not reviewed), presenting 22 further pieces by Canadian authors—“Canadian” being defined in the loosest possible sense. This time, speculative fiction in very mixed modes takes over from SF, though the entries are drawn mostly from the middle and late 1990s. In Margaret Atwood’s intriguing “Freeforall,” deadly STDs are rife, so that in order to prevent their spread, men become chattels or are abandoned to their fate; with its reverberations of The Handmaid’s Tale, the tale reads like an SF novel-in-waiting. W. P. Kinsella offers an amusing short-short on the Japanese commercial invasion, while Karl Schroeder’s recently settled planet is threatened by rogue colonists from space; Nancy Kilpatrick uncovers some nasty goings-on down on the farm; Robertson Davies entertains an odd, vinegar-swilling visitor; and Geoff Ryman’s novella “Fan” is reprinted from Unconquered Countries. Critic John Clute wonders if there’s a distinctive Canadian SF (no, but a particular conceptual approach, pioneered by A.E. van Vogt, may be close to it). Elsewhere, as you might expect, are three translations from French-language originals and several alternate-history variants involving Quebec having separated from Canada. Not to mention a solitary alien castaway (Sally McBride); a historical fantasy involving the astronomer Tycho Brahe (Scott Mackay); post-disaster surrealism (Ursula Pflug); acquisitive aliens (Cory Doctorow); and vampires, crash-test dummies, photography, and plague. Pleasingly eclectic and worth a try for story fans.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-86461-2
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1999




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