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The Year's Top 10 Tales of Science Fiction audio book edited by Allan Kaster

01/09/2009. Contributed by Rod MacDonald

Buy The Year's Top 10 Tales of Science Fiction in the USA - or Buy The Year's Top 10 Tales of Science Fiction in the UK

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pub: Audio Text/Infinivox. 554 minutes 8 CDs. Regular Price: $32.99 (US), CD Sale $29.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1884612-85-5). read by: Vanessa Hart, Sue Bilich and Tom Dheere.

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A delightful package of eight CDs, very well presented in a case, with ten Science Fiction short stories and an audio time of 9 hours. These tales were originally written in 2008 and represent a wide spectrum of the genre. There is something for everyone and you will be very pleased with the editor's selection.

I reviewed this over seven days when not feeling very well during August and I can attest that the tales certainly cheered me up. At least for nine hours my mind was taken to somewhere else than misery. In fact, each one of the 10 stories was good, well-narrated and interesting.

My favourite was by Stephen Baxter. 'Turing's Apples' was reminiscent of Bletchley Park and the Enigma Code but this time the signals were not from German U-boats but from aliens distant in the galaxy. Received by a radio telescope on the far side of the Moon where it is shielded from extraneous signals from Earth, the information obviously intelligent in nature defies decoding that is, until a couple of brothers unite to crack it.

James Allen Gardner's 'The Ray Gun' seemed innocuous enough from the start but as the tale progressed it became more involved and complex. A boy discovers a ray gun of alien origin while out in the countryside. This would affect his entire life in good and bad ways but the end result is not what we expect.

All the tales were very good including 'Shoggoth's In Bloom', an offering from Elizabeth Bear in which a scientist with completely different perceptions of reality from our own is convinced that stars are made of diamonds and goes out on a quest to prove this to be true. Jeff VanderMeer took us to a planet governed by a ruthless dictatorship where giant airships rain down on fire on the oppressed in 'Fixing Hanover'. A robot washed up on a distant shore brings this back to a refugee fleeing from his past.

For further information, visit their website above. This audio CD collection would make an ideal present for anyone interested in Science Fiction or indeed, could be purchased as an act of self-indulgence. Highly recommended.

Rod MacDonald

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This book has 66 votes in the sci-fi charts

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