October 23, 2017

Review: In Space No One Can Hear You Scream Edited by Hank Davis

A scifi classic!

Think space is a friendly place? This week’s review will cause you to think again.

From killer supernovae to the cold and uncaring vacuum to space alien beasties with their own agendas, the universe is indeed trying to kill us.

This week, we take a look at a thrilling (and chilling) look at a new compilation out from Baen Books. In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream edited by Hank Davis takes a page from the classic Alien movie tagline to bring you some terrifyingly great classic tales from the annuals of science fiction.

It’s a Lovecraftian cosmos out there, with stranger things than can be known. This collection culls some great tales of science fiction from such masters as Arthur C. Clarke, Theodore Sturgeon, Sarah A. Hoyt and many more. We often forget that sci-fi is more than just rockets and rayguns. As this compilation reminds us, science fiction, fantasy and horror often go hand-in-hand… just be sure first that said hand is not a claw or slimy tentacle that you’re actually holding on to.

Here’s just a few notable tales contained herein:

A Walk in the Dark by Arthur C. Clarke: Hey, we didn’t know that there was a Clarke tale out there that we hadn’t read yet! It all starts with a breakdown and a simple walk home, which soon becomes disconcerting under starless sky on a world far out on the galactic rim. Beware those tales from earlier colonists of things that go bump in the night…

Frog Water by Tony Daniel: What might an alien menagerie contain? Two humans are about to find out in this far out and disconcerting tale. I love how the aliens are depicted as, well, truly alien, complete with inscrutable goals and interests, far from a peaceable Federation whining about intergalactic treaties, etc.

The Last Weapon by Robert Sheckley: Don’t open Pandora’s Box… except you just know that humans can’t resist peeking inside in this classic sci-fi tale. A team of mercenaries finds an ancient Martian weapons cache… and a dire warning. Hey, we’ve all been there, right?

Mongoose by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette: A classic tale of inter-dimensional infestation, Mongoose was also featured on the Drabblecast. Set in the Boojum universe, Mongoose evokes the feel of Lovecraft, as an intergalactic exterminator and his pet must remove a bizarre plague from a space station that let the task go for just a bit too long. A great action-packed tale!

Sandkings by George R.R. Martin: A gem of a tale, Sandkings is worthy of a reread. The story tells the tale of a collector of alien pets and curiosities that discovers the ultimate prize: a sentient insect-like species that worships him like a god. His pernicious proclivities get the best of him, however, as he takes the game too far. The installers weren’t kidding when they said to “watch your faces…”

That’s just a few of the weird and wonderful tales contained in In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream… read ‘em if you dare!