This anthology collects hundred flash fiction pieces (very short short stories) that are either completely science fictional or have a sfnal angle. Most of them were written by SF writers, some came from Nature editors or reading scientists. Whether they were professionals or amateurs, the stories proved that actually writing a functional story at such a length is hard and most of the pieces failed there. Some did not even try.
But one of the strengths that is often ascribed to science fiction, it’s idea content, is where many of these stories can score, even when they fail at telling a good story. The anthology contains ideas galore, some of the quite intriguing, far too many to mention them here (the dead switches story is one of them, an excellent piece). The stories I liked best were more or less from newer writers, the ones I liked the least from older writers. But at this length, even the bad ones don’t last too long.
It’s also perfect reading material for the way to work (thanks Paul, it was a great gift). Even if you only have five minutes to spare, you can still read a complete story or even more. Which makes it much more satisfying than just reading some pages of something much longer.
The ones I liked the most were: Stephen Baxter – Under Martian Ice / Cory Doctorow – Printcrime / David Eagleman – A Brief History of Death Switches / Warren Ellis – At the Zoo / Henry Gee – Are We Not Men? / Jim Giles – Gordy Gave Me Your Name / Jon Courtnenay Grimwood – Take Over / Frederic Heeren – Making the Sale / Ellen Klages – Ringing Up Baby / Geoffrey A. Landis – Avatars in Space / David Langford – COMP.BASILISK FAQ / Ken MacLeod – Undead Again / Ashley Pellegrino – Daddy’s Slight Miscalculation / Alastair Reynolds – Feeling Rejected / Dan Simmons – Madame Bovary, C’est Moi / Bruce Sterling – Ivory Tower / Charles Stross – MAXO Signals / Theo von Hohenheim – A Leap of Faith