Jacob Weisman and friend (photo: Jill Roberts)
At the A.V. CLUB, Alex McCown enjoys Jacob Weisman’s satisfying INVADERS: 22 TALES FROM THE OUTER LIMITS OF LITERATURE.
Far from feeling like an assemblage of writers dabbling in the literary equivalent of baseball pros trying their hands at hockey, Invaders is a playful and imaginative exploration of what it means to write in the field of science fiction. The stories within contain a broad array of styles and narrative topographies; some of them merely utilize tropes or fanciful conceits as the background folderol to a more humanistic tale of love or pain, while others incorporate deep sci-fi premises in ways that suggest as profound an investment in the genre’s possibilities as an Iain Banks or a Charles Stross. And it’s a usefully diverse range of entries: Not all stories are equally effective, which is to be expected, but taken together, they illuminate the breadth of scope among authors not known for the form and the strategies they use to pursue these far-flung ideas.
The standard pluses and minuses of a compilation apply—there are lesser stories, but even they add to the range of ideas, and are over quickly enough—and the hook of watching more traditional storytellers splash about in the weird end of the pool makes for a satisfying overall experience. No one’s reinventing the wheel, but they are sending it leapfrogging through space-time.
For RISINGSHADOW, Seregil of Rhiminee praises Jacob Weisman’s impressive anthology.
INVADERS: 22 TALES FROM THE OUTER LIMITS OF LITERATURE features 22 tales written by authors who have mostly written literary fiction, but have also occasionally tried their hands on science fiction. This anthology allows readers an opportunity to explore interesting, inventive and original stories that wonderfully demonstrate what can be achieved when literary authors write science fiction and concentrate on speculating about life, relationships and technology.
As this anthology demonstrates, literary fiction and speculative fiction go perfectly hand in hand. They have a lot to offer to each other, because they balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses in a perfect way.
The writing in these stories is excellent and wonderfully nuanced. You won’t find bad prose in any of them. Instead, you’ll find a well-selected treasure trove of good and exquisite prose.
If you’re a fan of hard science fiction, this anthology may feel a bit strange to you, because many of the stories differ quite a lot from what you normally read. However, please persevere with it, because it’s worth reading due to its literary values and the fact that it offers something new to readers (I advise you to be open-minded when you read this anthology).
As a reader who loves the literary side of speculative fiction and expects good and well written prose from speculative fiction stories, I was impressed by this anthology. It was enjoyable to read these stories, because they were good. I think that this anthology will be of interest to many readers, because its diverse contents are entertaining and thought-provoking.
I recommend this anthology to everybody who loves literary speculative fiction and wants to read good and imaginative stories. Whether you’re an experienced science fiction reader or a newcomer to the genre, you’ll find something to enjoy in this anthology. It offers readers an opportunity to expand their awareness of speculative fiction in a subtly engaging way.
For more info about INVADERS: 22 TALES FROM THE OUTER LIMITS OF LITERATURE, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Goro Fujita
Design by Elizabeth Story