A collection of short science fiction stories, published in late 2015 and written by J.B. Zimmerman, better known to many of us here on Everything2 as The Custodian. Most of the tales here got their start as writeups here on E2, though many are not on the site anymore.
Among the stories included in the book are:
- "Radar Ghosts and Dead Cosmonauts" – A motley band of techno-shamans try to save the lives of astronauts who died long ago.
- "The Screams Grow in Green Ice" – An astronaut lost in space, a secret military space station, and something deeply terrifying make for an astonishingly tense sci-fi thriller.
- "Universal Destructor" – Sometimes, when you get the right genius working on the right project, the whole universe can open up for you.
- "Notes from the Long Dark" – Deep space exploration sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? Of course, it's best when you're a willing explorer. And when you've got more than just your brain tethered to a spacecraft...
- "The Bleeding Machine" – A salvage crew encounters a wrecked spaceship, but once on board, they find themselves being attacked and separated by unseen forces. Who's trying to kill them? And why?
- "A Trembling in the Sun" – A group of AIs seek to solve the mystery of what's killing the sun before all life on their planet is ended.
- "Elevation" – A religious pilgrim in a primitive society undertakes a quest to climb a massive rope into the heavens -- but where does the rope really lead?
It's a great book. You get over a dozen fantastic science fiction stories in this volume -- and they've got a serious classic feel to them. I think for those of us who love science fiction, when we all discovered it for the first time, what brought a lot of us in was a fascination with outer space, rocketships, astronauts, robots, and science so wild it'll break both your brain and the laws of physics. Zimmerman grew up with the same fascination, and the result is this collection of space-based wonder.
And space-based horror, too. Quite a few of these tales feature strong elements of terror, fright, and suspense. Spaceships that keep themselves lubricated on human blood, voices of long-dead astronauts whispering through the radio, space zombies, and more remind us that space can inspire us -- but that doesn't make it safe.
But there's also adventure and humor and science and daring men and women exploring the galaxy and fighting aliens and performing miracles with newly invented propulsion systems and doing all the things we've always dreamed of getting to do out there in the vast, cold, wonder-filled darkness between the stars. There are stories that'll scare you, but there are also stories to excite you and make you laugh and make you wish we were focusing more of our efforts on making our science fiction dreams come true.
Two more items of interest: the book features a short introduction on The Intersection of Science Fiction and Horror by Lucy A. Snyder, a.k.a. our own Lucy-S, and the cover image, a gloriously gorgeous chunk of sci-fi super-spaceship, is by the late John Berkey, an amazing science fiction artist who it would behoove you to familiarize yourself with.
If you know someone who loves science fiction and great writing and the glories of space travel, they'll definitely love this book.