What is on my kindle this week: Engineering Infinity ed. by Jonathan Strahan
“Hard Science Fiction” is sort of like porn, you know it when you see it. I would argue, over a number adult beverages in a dimly lit place that serves said adult beverages, that Hard Science Fiction is not even useful as a genre, being that it is so subjective and flexible you could argue for or against almost anything, e.g. Is the Expanse series hard science fiction? What about the Martian? How about Neuromancer? Snow Crash? What about something that used to be hard science fiction, but real science has now invalidated? Was ever really hard science fiction?
For me, I tend to think of hard science fiction as an extreme end of the spectrum with fantasy on the far end, and for me the defining bit being, hard science fiction stories, for me, need to have that feeling of this could be the future. It can be a spectacular adventure story, or a cautionary dystopian nightmare, but the thing that really tickles what ever it is in me that likes and searches out (sometimes) hard science fiction is that these stories use science, as we know and understand it, to extrapolate the now into something intriguing and new.
I don’t always feel like hard science fiction, it can be really crunchy, lacking in great characters and/or story, too caught up in staring at the science or its own belly button to have anything worth saying, but take a great idea, a good writer, and sometimes you get some great hard science fiction stories.
Engineering Infinity is a collection, one in a series (an anthology of anthologies?), of newer hard science fiction stories. I am about half way through the book and it is skewing to the better side of 50% good-great stories, which for a collection is pretty good. And, unlike a lot of cases, a pretty good division of both newer and older authors of a diverse background (at least for hard science fiction which tends to skew towards men, sadly).
tl;dr review: decent anthology to tickle that hard science fiction bone in your body.