Sunday, November 7, 1993

Future Earths: Under African Skies

by various authors, edited by Mike Resnick

A collection of science fiction stories with African themes, mostly quite good:

"For I Have Touched the Sky", Mike Resnick. Innocent curiosity beaten down by tradition. Good.

"Apartness", Vernor Vinge. The last Afrikaaners after a Northern World War are found in Antarctica. Great.

"Termites", Dave Smeds. The solution to world hunger and the solution's problems. Good.

"The Finger", Naomi Mitchison. Not really SF; a young boy escapes from his evil father, the witch doctor. I liked it.

"The Lions Are Asleep This Night", Howard Waldrop. An alternate history, but really about a boy writing a play. Good.

"Etoundi's Monkey", Judith Dubois. An alien baby is found, and the ownership disputed among a medicine man, an old woman, & a Japanese exchange student. Very good; a surprise ending!

"Dry Niger", M. Shayne Bell. A possible future Africa; my favorite story.

"A Transect", Kim Stanley Robinson. On a train, two worlds collide. Great.

"Of Space-Time And the River", Gregory Benford. An actual Sf story: aliens steal Egypt. Good, but could've been about any ancient civilization.

"Still Life With Scorpion", Scott Baker. A tourist gets a taste of African magic. Good.

"The Quiet", George Guthridge. An African tribe is placed in a conservation preservation on the moon. Very good; very sad.

"Dinner In Audoghast", Bruce Sterling. A prophet foretells African downfall. OK.

"A Passive Victim Of a Random Genetic Accident", Janet Gluckman. A diseased exile is given new hope by a female doctor. Also OK.

"The Pale Thin God", Resnick. Jesus meets the African gods. Good, for three pages.

"Toward Kilimanjaro", Ian McDonald. An alien jungle is attacking Earth. I disliked it for the use of quirky metaphor, the absence of commas in lists, & other literary irritants. Also, could've been about any place, especially since all three protagonists were Irish!

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