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Minireview: Zima Blue, by Alastair Reynolds

Zima Blue is the newest collection of short stories from Alastair Reynolds. It’s more eclectic in subject matter than the earlier “Galactic North” collection; where that earlier book was mostly “hard scifi” in the style of his novels, this one contains much more genre variation. I have to say that on the whole I liked Galactic North a small bit more, but this is also a quality collection with some awesome stories in it.

I’ve read three of these stories before, I think as parts of Gardner Dezois’ “Best SF of the Year” collections: the title story “Zima Blue”, another one called “Spirey and the Queen” and lastly “Beyond the Aquila Rift” (which is perhaps my favorite here). All are excellent. Other standouts are “Understanding Space and Time” (which features Elton John on Mars, sort of), “Signal To Noise” (a very different alternate worlds story), and “Minla’s Flowers”.

The edition I have is a new 2009 one, which expands the original 2006 publication with some new stories: “Digital to Analogue”, “Minla’s Flowers”, “Cardiff Afterlife”, and “Everlasting”.

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