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Authors: Ian Whates

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Solaris Rising

BOOK: Solaris Rising
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SOLARIS RISING

 

The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction

 

Edited by Ian Whates

 

 

 

Solaris Books

First published 2011 by Solaris an imprint of Rebellion Publishing Ltd, Riverside House, Osney Mead, Oxford, OX2 0ES, UK

www.solarisbooks.com

 

ISBN (.epub): 978-1-84997-311-3

ISBN (.mobi): 978-1-84997-312-0

 

‘Introduction’ © Ian Whates 2011

‘A Smart Well-Mannered Uprising of the Dead’ © Ian McDonald 2011

‘The Incredible Exploding Man’ © Dave Hutchinson 2011

‘Sweet Spots’ © Paul di Filippo 2011

‘The Best Science Fiction of the Year Three’ © Ken MacLeod 2011

‘The One that Got Away’ © Tricia Sullivan 2011

‘Rock Day’ © Stephen Baxter 2011

‘Eluna’ © Stephen Palmer 2011

‘Shall I Tell You the Problem with Time Travel?’ © Adam Roberts 2011

‘The Lives and Deaths of Che Guevara’ © Lavie Tidhar 2011

‘Steel Lake’ © Jack Skillingstead 2011

‘Mooncakes’ © Mike Resnick and Laurie Tom 2011

‘At Play in the Fields’ © Steve Rasnic Tem 2011

‘How We Came Back from Mars’ © Ian Watson 2011

‘You Never Know’ © Pat Cadigan 2011

‘Yestermorrow’ © Richard Salter 2011

‘Dreaming Towers, Silent Mansions’ © Jaine Fenn 2011

‘Eternity’s Children’ © Keith Brooke and Eric Brown 2011

‘For the Ages’ © Alastair Reynolds 2011

‘Return of the Mutant Worms’ © Peter F. Hamilton 2011

 

The right of the authors to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owners.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Designed & typeset by Rebellion Publishing

Cover Art by Pye Parr

 

CONTENTS

 

Introduction
, Ian Whates

 

A Smart Well-Mannered Uprising of the Dead
, Ian McDonald

 

The Incredible Exploding Man
, Dave Hutchinson

 

Sweet Spots
, Paul di Filippo

 

The Best Science Fiction of the Year Three
, Ken MacLeod

 

The One that Got Away
, Tricia Sullivan

 

Rock Day
, Stephen Baxter

 

Eluna
, Stephen Palmer

 

Shall I Tell You the Problem with Time Travel?
Adam Roberts

 

The Lives and Deaths of Che Guevara
, Lavie Tidhar

 

Steel Lake
, Jack Skillingstead

 

Mooncakes
, Mike Resnick and Laurie Tom

 

At Play in the Fields
, Steve Rasnic Tem

 

How We Came Back from Mars
, Ian Watson

 

You Never Know
, Pat Cadigan

 

Yestermorrow
, Richard Salter

 

Dreaming Towers, Silent Mansions
, Jaine Fenn

 

Eternity’s Children
, Keith Brooke and Eric Brown

 

For the Ages
, Alastair Reynolds

 

Return of the Mutant Worms
, Peter F. Hamilton

 

INTRODUCTION

 

IAN WHATES

 

When Jonathan Oliver approached me with the idea of reviving the
Solaris Book of New SF
series of anthologies, I was both flattered and thrilled. I still recall how excited I was when the very first in the series came out. The book, compiled and edited by George Mann, boasted a fabulous line-up of authors and proved to contain an equally impressive set of stories. I immediately resolved to try and have something of mine appear in a future volume (an ambition I realised in Vol 3). The opportunity to do justice to the tradition of quality established by George is a challenge that I’ve relished.

I love short stories, both to read and to write. A good short story provides a quick, sharp fix, almost instant gratification when compared to the slow burn of a novel, and its writing requires a skill in world-building and character development which is quite different from that demanded by the longer format, where the writer has so much more scope and time. I thought very carefully before sending out a call for submissions, approaching only authors I knew to be capable of delivering effective work within the strictures of the short story. This meant, inevitably, that I was approaching some of the busiest men and women in the industry. It came as no surprise, therefore, when not all of them were able to participate, which is why at the outset I contacted enough talented wordsmiths to fill two books. Thankfully, many responded with enthusiasm and were able to somehow squeeze the requisite writing time from their schedules. I ended up with enough high quality submissions that I’ve been forced to make a few tough choices, turning away some very good pieces by authors whose work I’ve long admired… But what a great situation for an editor to be in.

Something I should perhaps make clear; I’ve produced a number of themed anthologies in recent years, both through my own NewCon Press and in the Mammoth titles I’ve co-edited with Ian Watson. Just to say upfront that this isn’t one of them. Those readers looking for a theme will, I fear, search in vain.

Science fiction is a very broad church – which perhaps goes some way to explaining why there are so many different interpretations of precisely what the conjunction of those two words means. SF touches on many other literary fields and contains any number of subgenres and tropes. A succinct definition guaranteed to satisfy everyone is nigh on impossible.
That
is what I wanted to represent with this book. Not highlight one flavour of SF but rather reflect its boundless variety, the energy and imagination that can carry science fiction in so many fascinating and entertaining directions. I don’t claim for one moment that the selection here is definitive. Doubtless some will read
Solaris Rising
and note the absence of this type of SF or that, which just goes to show how diverse our genre is. No single volume could ever hope to encompass every nuance of the field. My ambition with
Solaris Rising
is rather to present a piquant tasting platter, a veritable smorgasbord representing some of the very best science fiction around at the moment. Both humour and darkness inhabit the collection, exotic environments cosy up to familiar elements imbued with a novel twist and the strange shadows the known; but above all you will find original thought and
story
.

Here it is then:
Solaris Rising
, the revival of
The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction
(now cunningly rejigged as
The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction
). I hope you enjoy.

 

Ian Whates

June 2011

A SMART WELL-MANNERED UPRISING OF THE DEAD

 

IAN MCDONALD

 

Ian McDonald lives just outside Belfast and sold his first story back in 1983. In his day job he works in development for Northern Ireland’s largest independent television production company. His most recent book,
The Dervish House
(Gollancz, Pyr), won the BSFA Award for best novel and the John W Campbell Memorial Award for 2011, as well as being nominated for the Arthur C Clarke Award and the Hugo. He’s into the second volume of his YA(-ish) Everness series, and volume 1,
Planesrunner,
is out from Pyr in December 2011.

 

I am Felix Cofie Addy and I am a dead man. I have been a dead man for three years, five months and twelve days. It was the cigarettes. Never start them, you young people. So I am dead, and I am aggrieved. Oh yes, mightily aggrieved. What for are you aggrieved, I hear you think. You’re dead; grievances and aggravations are over for you. Pull the red earth over you, sleep. Do not trouble yourself. Why, what do you think we are, us dead men? You think we sit around on our stools all day waiting to become pure and clear as gin? I tell you, the first aggravation is being dead at all. That is the firm foundation on which the other aggravations rest, and they are many. What aggrieves me? FC Maamobi’s atrocious last season. That defending would aggrieve anyone. The price of rice and flour and cooking oil at Maxmart. That aggrieves me. I have heard that children go hungry to school. How will they learn if they are hungry? They need brain food. We are not a hungry nation. We never have been. Yes, that aggrieves me much. The state of the potholes on the Kanda highway: it was more hole than highway even before I became a dead man. The price of diesel at the Shell Station on Nima Road. The fuel for the Maxmart trucks goes up, Maxmart puts its prices up, the City Council can’t afford to fix the potholes. What for? We have oil. We are a wealthy country. We are proud and independent. But what aggrieves me most is you, Minister Raymond Kufuor. We have oil, we have wealth, we have independence and you are the man in charge of it, so tell me Mr Raymond Kufuor, why are there holes in our highways you could lose a pig in? Where is the money, Minister? Tell a dead man that.

 

Yes yes yes, it’s me, Felix Cofie Addy. Again. What for have you disturbed me from my death? I cannot sleep, my deep bed is full of spiders and on my stool my bones ache as if they are poking through my skin and I itch; the kind of itch you can never reach. Can you not see the wrong of this? I have worked moderately hard and attained some success. I have raised a family and I am content enough as a dead man. Can you then understand how annoying it is to find that I am still aggrieved? Things have not been done. Issues have not been addressed. Questions have not been answered. Just yesterday the Shell Station on Nima Road put five cedis on a litre of gasoline. I may be a dead man, but I know that Akron Kufuor who drives for Excelsior Taxis is having to work an extra two hours a shift to be able to pay for the price rise – and that is when he gets a fare at all. People are cutting back! Holes in the road, holes in the shoes, holes in the children’s clothes. Rice and oil! Yet what do I see with my dead eye but Agriculture Minister Kofi Mensah entertaining the Chinese agricultural delegation at a reception at his own private villa? I would not begrudge a minister of the government of this great country his marble and his swimming pool because both are cooling and necessary in the heat. But a cousin of a cousin tells me that the contract for the catering went to Superb Chefs, owned by, who other than, yes, Minister Kofi Mensah. And cousin’s cousin Abena should know. She works for Superb Chefs. Graft and corruption! See, I’m not afraid to accuse. We are the dead, you cannot touch us and there are many many of us, in our comfortable little houses, on our stools and chairs and at out our tables with the things we loved at our feet. We are many many voices. Yes yes yes.

BOOK: Solaris Rising
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