20 December 2010

Before They Were Giants, They Were Wee Little (unpublished) People

  • Author: James L Sutter
  • Title: Before They Were Giants: First Works from Science Fiction Greats
  • Publisher: Planet Stories 2010
  • ISBN: 978 1601252661 (Planet Stories #28)
Before They Were Giants is the latest Planet Stories book, collecting the first published works (sortof) by a bunch of SF and F authors in print today. Ben Bova, Piers Anthony, Kim Stanley Robinson, Larry Niven and Michael Swanwick represent the old school, while Cory Doctorow, China Mieville and William Gibson stand in for more recent times. Yes, there are others, but I can't be bothered typing their names in. Lazy, aren't I? 

Highlights for me were Spider Robinsons first story (which is also the first Callahans Bar story) and the China Mieville story, which was ok but a bit trite while reading. Until I found out that he wrote it when he was FUCKING 12!!!! And on that basis, is is absolutely brilliant.

Charles Stross also has a story in this book, but I didn't really get it. The only female gendered person featured is Nicola Griffith, and the story was a bit naff, doing one of those "evil human mining company is exploiting the land of the humanoid natives, but their spirituality may just win the day with the help of a kind hearted officer and the guidance of an old native sage type lady" type stories. I would have loved to see first works by some of the really great women writers like Kage Baker, Eileen Gunn, Kath Koja, hell, pretty much anyone. Maybe they'll do a Before They [each] Became A Giantess?

Oh Oh, Michael Swanwick - His story in this is creepy and weird but space operaish and too cool for words. This book is worth getting on the basis of this story alone.

I know I ususally waffle on a whole lot more about books, but I am a bit short on time at the moment. So I will just say this - Planet Stories have published some interesting stuff recently, and they are worth chasing up at the library. That most of the stories in this book are widely available elsewhere, however, means that I don't think it is worth the $15.99 rrp. The only really hard to get piece is the China Mieville, and that was more exciting for the novelty than actual value. You wouldn't reread it annually, cause it ain't LoTR, ya know?


PS, while attempting to spellcheck this post, Internet Explorer repeatedly crashed, so I haven't. Any speelign arrors are Microsofts fault.