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February 6, 2013

Book Review - Armored - Edited by John Joseph Adams

John Joseph Adams has quickly become one of my favourite anthology editors. He's also editor-in-chief of Lightspeed Magazine, with each issue full of great science fiction and fantasy short stories. I have many of this recent anthologies just waiting for me to pick them up when I have a spare moment.

The latest anthology I've read, Armored, has a rather obvious theme: powered armor in all its forms. Mostly it's the armor such as you see in movies like Starship Troopers, but not always. Two of the stories in the anthology actually take place in the past, not the future. Some take place on a future Earth. Most, however, take place out in the depths of space or on some alien planet where the armor is the only way that you're going to be able to survive.

With such a seemingly narrow theme, you would think an anthology with twenty-three stories in it would suffer from too much of the same thing. That's not true of this anthology, though. The stories are quite varied, ranging from a cat rescue at an abandoned space station to steam-powered armor in the late 1880s to help a criminal fend off the law. The authors do an amazing amount of work bringing these characters to life, and even the worst stories in the book are still a treat to read. They may not all have worked for me as a story, but I didn't want to put the book down in boredom when reading any of them.

My review is now up on Curled Up With a Good Book.

From the review:
"The stories don't all take place in the future. "The Last Days of the Kelly Gang" actually takes place in 1880s Australia and involves the notorious Australian criminal Ned Kelly and an old man named Ike who is forced to create a suit of steam-powered armor so that Kelly can fight off the law closing its noose around him. A brilliant inventor, Ike self-exiled after the mishap of one of his greatest inventions. It's a nice character piece about the man and his regrets, as well as his relationship with the gang as he races against time to build the armor, hoping that Ned won't kill him in the process."
If you don't have an inherent bias against short stories, and you like to add a little powered milk to your story-reading coffee, you can't really go wrong with Armored

Note: The Kage Baker retrospective I promised last week will be posted in two weeks.


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