Beyond the Stars: Unimagined Realms edited by Ellen Campbell & Patrice Fitzgerald
Beyond the Stars: Unimagined Realms (2018) is a space opera anthology released by Astral Books. I don’t know whether the realms in question are really unimagined. In some places they are pretty dimly lit.
A Lunar colony’s aroma of baking bread did enter into the narrative in “The Art of Baking Bread on the Moon” by David Bruns. Ah, fresh bread! But again, that’s more nostalgic.
My favorite story by some distance was “Adagio for Tiamat Station,” by Marion Deeds, who happens to be a colleague reviewer and author in her own right. Her writing is spare and mercifully unsentimental in relating a tale of poignance and significance. Its gentle urgency echoes through time, and in fact, space as a lost adagio conveys its universal message to the remote reaches of Tiamat Station, satellite of dwarf planet Eris.
Also notable was “Fractals,” by G.S. Jennsen, where a research craft encounters hostile contact from a far advanced alien fleet.
I was curious to read military SF self-publishing break-out Craig Martelle’s story “A Galactic Affair.” I had never read him before, but his work production is verifiably prodigious and extremely well received among his readers. His is a story about a loner miner on an asteroid who gets a little alien assistance meeting his ore quotas. It was a diverting read and, I get the sense, satisfying to his enthusiastic following, though I found its emotive quality a bit thin around the ribs.
The other stories include “The Old Fighting Goose,” by Sean Monaghan, which has good moments of intensity and credibly detailed crisis in a shot up space vessel, and it has a pretty strong sense of esprit de corps and soldier loyalty; “Jumps in Consciousness,” by J.E. Mac, is a dark tale of an intergalactic space war trooper; “Hooking Up” is a story by Patrice Fitzgerald, in which you can find out about the pitfalls of interstellar dating services; “The Apprentice Space Pirate,” by TR Cameron, has a resourceful heroine who fights her way to freedom; there’s “Klevor Barnes and the Stinky Cats,” by Mark Sarney — a bungling space courier/pirates smuggling story … with cats; “Entanglement,” by Joseph Robert Lewis about a space dive into Jupiter and a classified briefing from an octopus; “Fierce Fortune,” by R.A. Rock, where a diamond mining operation at a planet’s core threatens the life of multiple inhabited planets; and “Fission Fallout,” by Chelsea Pagan, a weird twin planet with no sun and the survivors of fission fallout.
All told, Beyond the Stars: Unimagined Realms was a diverting anthology with a few head-scratching spots. If you like science fiction, I think you would enjoy this a bunch.