My Favorites: An Anthology

Blackstone. Oct. 2020. 300p. ISBN 9781094000923. $24.99. SF
This collection of short stories features several standouts, including the Nebula-nominated “Inspiration,” as well as “Muzhestvo,” a prequel short to Bova’s “Mars” series and “Sam and the Flying Dutchman,” a story in the author’s well-loved sf/caper series featuring the intergalactic con man Sam Gunn. Several stories play with themes of alternate history, both in the fictional post–World War II Casablanca follow-up, “We’ll Always Have Paris,” and in the piece about a well-meaning but ultimately futile attempt to avoid the horrors of that war in “The Café Coup.” Three humorous entries, “The Great Moon Hoax,” “Scheherazade and the Storytellers,” and “The Supersonic Zeppelin,” poke good-natured fun at (respectively) alien invasions, the origins of sf/fantasy, and government aerospace contracts while both revering and lampooning the genre overall. This collection has something for all sf readers. However, all of the stories have been published previously, primarily in the collection The Best of Bova.
VERDICT Bova is one of the grand masters of the field, and this anthology reflects the breadth of his writing. Recommended for readers seeking an introduction to the author, and for libraries that do not own a more complete collection.

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