Reading: short stories

I’ve been reading short stories lately, since my concentration has been iffy the last month(s). Here are the books I’m dipping into.

MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XII: 1894-1902 features contributions from C.H. Dye, David Marcum, Thomas Fortenberry, Daniel D. Victor, Nik Morton, Craig Janacek, S. Subramanian, Jim French, Robert Stapleton, Nick Cardillo, Paul D. Gilbert, Mike Hogan, Derrick Belanger, John Linwood Grant, Mark Mower, Jane Rubino, and Arthur Hall, and a poem by “Anon.” – 34 new traditional Holmes adventures in two simultaneously published volumes. “Somewhere in the vaults of the bank of Cox and Co., at Charing Cross, there is a travel-worn and battered tin dispatch box with my name, John H. Watson, M.D., Late Indian Army, painted upon the lid. It is crammed with papers, nearly all of which are records of cases to illustrate the curious problems which Mr. Sherlock Holmes had at various times to examine…” – Dr. John H. Watson

Cosmic Corsairs, edited by by Hank Davis and Christopher Ruocchio, Baen 2020 trade paperback. Space Pirates! Words that conjure up rousing tales of adventure, derring-do, brave heroes battling the scurvy vermin of the galaxy. Those vermin have taken to pillaging cargo ships and, even worse, space liners, relieving the helpless passengers of their valuables, and worse with the comely women passengers, then spacing the lot—unless one or more of the aforementioned brave heroes arrive in the nick of time, and turn the tables, making the spaceways safe again for the innocent and helpless. On the other hand, perhaps the pirate captain is a woman, and it’s the comely male passengers who need rescuing. And on the third hand (we’re talking space pirates here, possibly aliens with four or more arms), perhaps those ships traversing the interstellar void are not so innocent, and the pirates, fighting an evil despotic star empire and defending the freedom of the space lanes, are the good guys and gals. The possibilities are many, and the daring exploits set the blood racing in the veins of any reader with even a trace of buccaneering spirit in their hidden self.

There are two very different anthologies, and are giving me a nice variety.


About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Anthology, Books & Reading, Mystery, Science Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Reading: short stories

  1. Bookstooge says:

    Hank Davis sounded familiar, so I went and checked my books. He edited the Worst Contact anthology and his beginning blurb for each story really ruined things for me. Plus, he seemed to be rather fulsome in his praise of certain authors who had communist leanings.

    • Sorry you didn’t like Davis’ introductions, he’s usually very good, and he’s been doing it for a long time. I don’t know his politics, though I doubt they have anything to do with it, and I don’t bother with the politics of editors or authors, because what matters is the writing.

      • Bookstooge says:

        i’m not usually a fan of “extra’s” about stories. Just give me the stories.
        It did leave enough of an impression that I know I won’t be bothering with anything with Hanks name on it.

        Weird thing is, your link, in my little notification bar is showing up as instead of Do you have 2 accounts or blogs?

  2. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    The Sherlock book sounds iffy to me. Never heard of a single author.
    Hank Davis anthologies are usually pretty good if you can get past the terrible typical Baen cover.
    Communist leanings? Baen books tends to promote a lot of extreme right ring authors like Thomas Kratman and Larry Correia. I don’t know the politics of all the authors present here but having read most of them I have never got that vibe. I known Niven has always seemed conservative. I think this post is from someone who finds communist leanings in anyone who is the least bit left of center.

    • Bookstooge says:

      Have you read Worst Contact and the intro’s to each story?

      • Todd Mason says:

        Haven’t read the book. Here’s the TOC:
        FROM FIRST TO WORST by Hank Davis
        PUPPET SHOW by Fredric Brown
        CONTACT! by David Drake
        THE FLAT-EYED MONSTER by William Tenn
        THE POWER by Murray Leinster
        EARLY MODEL by Robert Sheckley
        HER SISTER’S KEEPER by Sarah A. Hoyt
        PLAYTHING by Larry Niven
        RANDOM SAMPLE by T. P. Caravan
        NO LOVE IN ALL OF DWINGELOO by Tony Daniel
        FIRST CONTACT, SORT OF by Karen Haber and Carol Carr
        FORTITUDE by David Brin
        THEY’RE MADE OUT OF MEAT by Terry Bisson
        ALIEN STONES by Gene Wolfe
        PICTURES DON’T LIE by Katherine MacLean
        BACKWARDNESS by Poul Anderson
        DODGER FAN by Will Stanton
        NO SHOULDER TO CRY ON by Hank Davis
        HORNETS’ NEST by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.
        PROTECTED SPECIES by H. B. Fyfe
        THE CAGE by A. Bertram Chandler
        SHADOW WORLD by Clifford D. Simak

        –Quite a range of political opinion among the writers here, and none of them lifelong Leninists, though Philip “William Tenn” Klass was in the CP in his youth, IIRC. Sarah Hoyt and Poul Anderson, at very least, weigh the book toward the right, as much as it matters. Niven and a few others definitely conservatives.

      • I haven’t read that anthology, no.

    • Steve, these anthologies are new stories, pastiches, by writers in that field. The stories I’ve read in this and earlier volumes have been good.

  3. Patti Abbott says:

    I wonder if science fiction and fantasy writers have more of a political point of view than say mystery writers. In examining or creating new worlds you would have to weigh in on what aspects of life on earth need changing in one way or another.

    • Todd Mason says:

      In short, Patti, yes…most sf is by necessity going to require some thinking about the best (and worst) possible ways to live, and how the compromises come in…so political attitudes come pretty clear. However, it’s kind of hard to write about crime and justice without taking similar matters into consideration…

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Nice. I like to alternate stories sometimes too. As a rule, I start the day with a short story, so if I don’t get anything else read, at least I have that done. I just finished Jhumpa Lahiri’s second collection (UNACCUSTOMED EARTH), mostly about the Americanized children of Bengali immigrants (like the author). I have the two new collections from Crippen & Landru that came in last week – Ed Hoch’s Simon Ark and Erle Stanley Gardner’s Lester Leith – plus Laurie Colwin’s COLLECTED STORIES and a giant collection of noir stories, which I am trying to remember if I have already read.

    The last couple of Hank Davis collections are on my list.

  5. 1412064gk says:

    I enjoyed COSMIC CORSAIRS, too. You can’t go wrong with a Hank Davis SF anthology!

  6. Definitely opposite ends of the spectrum there, in many ways. That has to make for some fun variety. I have a couple different Hank Davis anthologies. He seems to be very clever in his ideas of how to put stories together under and interesting theme.

  7. tracybham says:

    Cosmic Corsairs sounds like fun. I will definitely seek that one out and look into some other anthologies he put together.

  8. stevelewis62 says:

    On my way to Amazon to get this latest book from Hank Davis right now. I don’t know how he finds them, but he always picks out great stories I’ve never read. The Holmes book, I’ll pass on.

  9. stevelewis62 says:

    I’ve owned 2 or 3 of the MX books and have even sampled them. I agree that if you like pastiches like these, they do some of the better ones. I did not know there are 15 of the books. It doesn’t sound as though they’ll run out of them any time soon.

  10. Redhead says:

    Same here, my attention span is about zero lately. 600 page novels just aren’t going to happen for me. Been dipping into the anthology “Made to Order”, short stories about robots and cyborgs, lots of nice short entertaining stories in there, and Ambiguity Machines, a collection by Vandana Singh, for longer more contemplative stories.

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