Review and Thoughts : Far Thoughts and Pale Gods by Greg Bear

Far Thoughts and Pale Gods by Greg Bear


Published by Open Road Media
Publication Date : April 26, 2016
Available as eBook – 320 Pages
Source : NetGalley – Thank you!

6 dazzling stories, freshly revised for this volume, plus new introductions, commentary, and reminiscences from the Hugo and Nebula Award winning author of”War Dogs,” “Eternity,” and”The Forge of God” Greg Bear is the author of more than 30 books, from thrillers (“Darwin s Radio,” “Vitals”) to science fiction (“Blood Music,” “Eon,” “Hull Zero Three”) to pure fantasy (“The Infinity Concerto,” “The Serpent Mage”). He has won 5 Nebula and 2 Hugo Awards, his works have been translated into more than 20 languages, and his titles have sold millions of copies worldwide. But his skills are not confined to writing at full-length novels: He is also the author of dozens of brilliant short stories, novellas, and novelettes.”Far Thoughts and Pale Gods”contains 6 highly acclaimed stories, each newly revised by the author, that illustrate Bear s abundant breadth of talent. The volume includes: . Heads, which marks the first time the concept of quantum computing appears in science fiction though it is a vision of 400 frozen heads that will remain in the reader s memory; . The Wind from a Burning Woman, the first story set in the universe that spawned the novels”Eon”and”Eternity”; . Plague of Conscience, which explores what it means to be alien and whether that can be comprehended without understanding what it means to be human; . Scattershot, beginning The teddy bear spoke excellent Mandarin, a gripping deep-space adventure that is also a tribute to legendary female science fiction writer James Tiptree Jr. These and the remaining entries Mandala and Petra form a remarkable collection showcasing the talents of a major American writer. Each story is accompanied by an introduction and an afterword written especially for this volume. 

Far Thoughts and Pale Gods is one of three books released to collect some of Greg Bear’s short stories, be they part of established narratives or a standalone. I’ve never read Mr. Bear before, only seen his books on a great many shelves at the book store and library so I thought a short story collection would be a great introduction. I have to say I enjoyed it! I’ve been easing my way back into science fiction this year, and perhaps this is one that more threw me in kicking in screaming, but it was a great addition on my ladder. Mr. Bear seems to specialize in hard science fiction, but his work also carries a lot of the undertones that work for me. Things affecting human mentality, culture, or religion make the flesh around the Science Fiction backbone on these.
Even though I stumbled a bit through the first story in the collection, I managed to get my feet under me before it ended and wound up really happy with it. It was grim, but incredibly fascinating. The same can be said for the rest of these. They weren’t what I would call happy stories, but they were challenging and did make you think. The additional ‘context’ that Mr. Bear added to the stories at the beginning really helped. I wish more collections did this, it adds a lot to the story getting where it was coming from.
The stories managed, even if they were riddled with science and the ins and outs of the technical, to take a deeper look and I really appreciated that. I think Greg Bear has definitely made his way to my ‘to read’ list with these stories – I would call them smart science fiction. I’ll be picking up the rest of these to read for myself, I really recommend them if you’re ready to tackle some harder science fiction.

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