Worlds Enough and Time (2002)

Only five stories, but with two very excellent and two good ones, it’s more than worth your money. The story that I thought was the worst is about the idea that Simmons thinks that the one thing that will hold true even in thousand years is that the Jews are still persecuted. The premise is silly and laughable, the story itself is also rather weak. “Orphans of the Helix” is a story set in the Hyperion/Endymion universe after the ending of the tetralogy. It has some interesting concepts, but lacks strong characters.

The End of Gravity is near future stuff, also good. “On K2 with Kanakaredes” is about mountain climbing with an alien. What sounds like a dumb premise is one of the best stories about trying to understand aliens, about friendship and other things.

But the best story of the collection is “Looking for Kelly Dahl”, about a teacher who has lost his will to teach and his attempts to find one of his pupils who he once hadn’t helped as much as he thought he should have. The speculative element is only minimal, but the story has one of the most memorable main characters in this collection, and even after some time I couldn’t get the story out of me head. The conclusion was also very heartwarming.