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Galactic Empires

Galactic Empires

By


Trade Paperback - $17.99
Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Powell's

ISBN: 978-1-59780-884-2
Published: 01/03/2017


Neil Clarke, publisher of the award-winning Clarkesworld magazine, presents a collection of thought-provoking and galaxy-spanning array of galactic short science fiction.

From E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman, to George Lucas’s Star Wars, the politics and process of Empire have been a major subject of science fiction’s galaxy-spanning fictions. The idiom of the Galactic Empire allows science fiction writers to ask (and answer) questions that are shorn of contemporary political ideologies and allegiances. This simple narrative slight of hand allows readers and writers to see questions and answers from new and different perspectives.

The stories in this book do just that. What social, political, and economic issues do the organizing structure of “empire” address? Often the size, shape, and fates of empires are determined not only by individuals, but by geography, natural forces, and technology. As the speed of travel and rates of effective communication increase, so too does the size and reach of an Imperial bureaucracy. Sic itur ad astra—“Thus one journeys to the stars.”

At the beginning of the twentieth century, writers such as Kipling and Twain were at the forefront of these kinds of narrative observations, but as the century drew to a close, it was writers like Iain M. Banks who helped make science fiction relevant. That tradition continues today, with award-winning writers like Ann Leckie, whose 2013 debut novel Ancillary Justice hinges upon questions of imperialism and empire.

Here then is a diverse collection of stories that asks the questions that science fiction asks best. Empire: How? Why? And to what effect?

Table of Contents:

  • “Winning Peace” by Paul J. McAuley
  • “Night’s Slow Poison” by Ann Leckie
  • “All the Painted Stars” by Gwendolyn Clare
  • “Firstborn” by Brandon Sanderson
  • “Riding the Crocodile” by Greg Egan
  • “The Lost Princess Man” by John Barnes
  • “The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard
  • “Alien Archeology” by Neal Asher
  • “The Muse of Empires Lost” by Paul Berger
  • “Ghostweight” by Yoon Ha Lee
  • “A Cold Heart” by Tobias S. Buckell
  • “The Colonel Returns to the Stars” by Robert Silverberg
  • “The Impossibles” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • “Utriusque Cosmi” by Robert Charles Wilson
  • “Section Seven” by John G. Hemry
  • “The Invisible Empire of Ascending Light” by Ken Scholes
  • “The Man with the Golden Balloon” by Robert Reed
  • “Looking Through Lace” by Ruth Nestvold
  • “A Letter from the Emperor” by Steve Rasnic Tem
  • “The Wayfarer’s Advice” by Melinda M. Snodgrass
  • “Seven Years from Home” by Naomi Novik
  • “Verthandi’s Ring” by Ian McDonald
Praise for Neil Clarke’s Anthologies with Night Shade Books
 
“Readers should savor the stories a few at a time to get the most out of Clarke’s superior selections . . . but there are no inferior pieces here. This is a fine, thoughtful book.
Publishers Weeklystarred review for Not One of Us
 
“Well-known SF authors grace this . . . top-notch selection of imaginative and thought-provoking stories.
Kirkus Reviews, starred review for More Human Than Human
 
“Clarke’s stellar reprint anthology explores the expansive variety of space exploration stories. . . . Outstanding works in which extreme environments bring out the best and worst of human nature.”
Publishers WeeklyStarred Review for The Final Frontier

“Twenty one fascinating tales from some of science fiction’s new stars. The reprint collection is multicultural and diverse, with tales of all kinds and from some unusual places. . . . Many standouts in this one and likely something here for all sorts of different kinds of folks.”
—Manhattan Book Review, 4.5/5 Stars for The Final Frontier
 
“This hefty anthology of imperial SF covers great space battles, small dramas within an empire, hopeless bureaucracy, and even living space stations, zooming in and out to capture every nuance . . . The diverse array of stories ensures that there’s plenty of interest for any fan of large-scale SF.” 
Publishers Weekly on Galactic Empires

Masterful editor Neil Clarke has assembled an exotic, bountiful treasure chest of reprint tales dedicated to that mode of SF that can arguably be said to constitute the very core of the field, the space opera.”
Asimov’s on Galactic Empires
 
“Clarke has assembled a wide range of authors – from old masters like Robert Silverberg to more recent talents such as Aliette De Bodard – each offering a different take on the central premise. . . There isn’t a bad piece amongst them . . . the Galaxy really is there for the taking.”
Starburst on Galactic Empires, reviewed by Alister Davison

“As editor Clarke points out in his introduction, when most people hear the term galactic empire, they immediately picture Darth Vader and Star Wars. But there is a long history of star-faring empires in the genre, with stories that imagine our human tendencies to explore and conquer among the stars. . . . The stories gathered here, all of which have appeared elsewhere, show the huge range of possibilities of the chosen theme.” 
Library Journal on Galactic Empires

“The first must-read anthology of the year, no question, is Neil Clarke’s Galactic Empires, an ambitious (read: huge) collection of SF tales featuring far-flung confederations in the stars. The TOC is a who’s-who of virtually everyone doing important work at short length in science fiction.” 
—John O’Neil, Black Gate on Galactic Empires

Brings together some of the best voices writing in the genre today. . . . a stunning collection of short fiction.”
WorldsInInk on Galactic Empires