Space Stations, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers (DAW, 2004)

Partially in honor of the International Space Station to be completed in 2006, and in memory of those orbiting habitats which have come and gone such as Skylab and Mir, Space Stations is an anthology of original stories which all revolve around the theme of space stations, both manmade and otherwise. Fourteen authors have taken on the subject, and the results are both varied and fascinating.
While all of the stories are good, some stand out more than others. Julie Czernada’s “The Franchise” marks her return to the worlds of In The Company of Others, following up on the events of that novel. With the deadly Quill Effect a thing of the past, humanity is finally free to move beyond its boundaries. For generations born and raised on overcrowded space stations, this is both a new beginning, and a new challenge. But before humanity can step onto new worlds, they have to reclaim and rehabilitate long-abandoned space stations, and on one such station, a mystery remains to be solved, its answer lying somewhere in the past.
Robert Sawyer’s “Mikeys” takes a different look at space exploration, as the first manned trip to Mars reveals some unusual facts about one of the red planet’s moons. The real story, however, focuses upon the “Mikey” of the trip, so named for Mike Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut who went to the Moon, but never set foot on the surface. Will the underdogs have their day?
In “Redundancy,” Alan Dean Foster tells the story of a truly unusual space station, one that manages to overcome its normal programming to accomplish the heroically unthinkable. This actually creates a resonance with Russell Davis’ “Countdown,” which details the last moments of one station and its last commanding officer, in a poignant tale of sacrifice and defiance. In”Falling Star,” Brenda DuBois looks at a world where technology has regressed, from the viewpoint of someone who once traveled among the stars. Here, the focus is clearly on what the lack of a space station might mean.
Those are only a handful of the stories to be found in Space Stations, as well as contributions by Timothy Zahn, Jean Rabe, Jack Williamson, Gregory Benford, Michael Stackpole and more. As collections go, it’s a fairly strong one, one that’s even topical given the slight progress we’ve been making in exploring Mars lately and the possible future of our push into space. I was quite pleased with the stories within.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>