The Final Frontier: Stories of Exploring Space, Colonizing the Universe, and First Contact Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The vast and mysterious universe is explored in this reprint anthology from award-winning editor and anthologist Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year).
The urge to explore and discover is a natural and universal one, and the edge of the unknown is expanded with each passing year as scientific advancements inch us closer and closer to the outer reaches of our solar system and the galaxies beyond them.
Generations of writers have explored these new frontiers and the endless possibilities they present in great detail. With galaxy-spanning adventures of discovery and adventure, from generations ships to warp drives, exploring new worlds to first contacts, science fiction writers have given readers increasingly new and alien ways to look out into our broad and sprawling universe.
The Final Frontier delivers stories from across this literary spectrum, a reminder that the universe is far large and brimming with possibilities than we could ever imagine, as hard as we may try.
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|Listening Length||28 hours and 21 minutes|
|Author||Neil Clarke - editor|
|Narrator||Tim Campbell, James Anderson Foster, Mary Robinette Kowal, Karen Cass, James Langton|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 10, 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #136,082 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#172 in Space Exploration Science Fiction
#414 in Science Fiction Anthologies & Short Stories
#875 in First Contact Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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The reviews that sing praises about the hard sci-fi in this book are definitely right: even in the poorer stories there's some great concepts. So if you're reading this collection for that and don't care so much about the characters and other story elements then you might still enjoy a lot of this. Otherwise, there were only a couple of truly great stories where every element was working well. Most often, when a story wasn't working it was due to poor characters, poor interactions, or not doing anything with the interesting concept or premise the story was supposed to be about.
Here's the breakdown:
The only stories I'd say were truly great that I enjoyed reading were:
- Kristine Kathryn Rusch - Diving into the Wreck
- Vandana Singh - Sailing the Antarsa
After that there were a bunch of stories that ranged from good to alright:
- Tobias S. Buckell - A Jar of Goodwill
- Ken Liu - Mono no aware
- Michael Swanwick - Slow Life
- Julie Novakova - The Symphony of Ice and Dust
- Sean McMullen - The Firewall and the Door
Then the rest were pretty "meh" for one reason or another, with a mix of what wasn't working for each. For example, Greg Egan's "Glory" had probably the best hard sci-fi opening I've ever read for how super-advanced aliens beat the speed of light andmove themselves across the universe, and how they build their ships when they get there. Immediately afterwards though, those same sophisticated aliens were supposed to be diplomats to a less-advanced civilization but they had the skill, temperament, and dialogue of spoiled teenagers.
Top reviews from other countries
My take-away would be the following~
1. Tobias S. Buckell's 'A Jar of Goodwill';
2. Nancy Kress's 'Shiva in Shadow';
3. Julie Novakova's 'The Symphony of Ice and Dust';
4. Sean McMullen's 'The Firewall and the Door' (I totally loved it!);
5. Jay Lake's 'Permanent Fatal Errors';
6. Carrie Vaughn's 'The Mind is Its Own Place';
7. An Owomoyela's 'Travelling into Nothing';
8. Peter Watt's 'The Island'.
Reading this book was a worthwhile experience. But it seems that the art of writing crisp and compact short stories is either getting lost, or the editors aren't interested, favouring humongous tales over them.
Meanwhile, if you can get hold of this one and have a handy pair of bifocals, go ahead.