- James Morrow’s “Daughter Earth” — I’m not a big fan of Morrow’s short stories, and I’ve not read his novels, but this story astonished me with its audacity. Not just anyone could pull this off–I’m not even sure that Morrow does–but just the fact that he tried gives him brownie points in my book. A biosphere is born to a new age-farmer couple, and they try to keep it out of the hands of the government. Life-affirming and planet-affirming.
- Mark L. Van Name and Pat Murphy’s “Desert Rain” — Pat told us (in the NOVA Express interview) that she was writing this story with Mark, but she didn’t say it was gonna be this good. An artist’s construction of rain in the desert is hampered by her feelings for her husband and the home software he’s creating. This is what Jonathan Carroll would write if he wrote science fiction.
- Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Precious Moments” — Kind of an “Odd Joan” story, filled with this author’s nouveau family angst and some really intriguing characters.
- Peg Kerr’s “Lethe”–This is a tale about medical and cultural responsibility for dying. It reminded me of the empathy of Theodore Sturgeon, and this story should be considered for the award that bears his name. I’m keeping my eye out for Kerr stories in the future.
- Marcos Donnelly’s “Tracing the Random Variable” — A Twilight Zone-ish tale of a man obsessed with stability, that only serves to increase his instability.
- Norman Spinrad’s “The Helping Hand” — It may be a little saccharine tasting, but who’d have thought that Spinrad would write a little piece of wish-fulfillment fantasy like this? I couldn’t help myself; I like it.
- Elizabeth Hand’s “Snow on Sugar Mountain” – I was predisposed to not like this story by Hand, based on having read some wrong-headed critical pieces by her in the past, but she overcame all that, and this tale of an orphan, a dying astronaut, and their friendship was probably my third favorite story in this collection.
And that’s not to mention the contributions by Tony Daniel, Greg Benford, Ursula K. Le Guin, Wolfgang Jeschke, Karen Joy Fowler, R.V. Branham, or Michael Bishop, which I also liked.