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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Audio Book Review: The New Space Opera 2

This is a thoroughly engaging collection, as stated, "of interstellar adventure and wonder."
Title: The New Space Opera 2
Edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan
Read by various narrators
Length 23.4 hrs • Unabridged
2013 by Blackstone Audio, Inc. 
Genre: Science Fiction, Collection
My Rating: 4.25+ of 5.0

Publisher/Date: Blackstone Audio, 09/01/13
Following the success of their Locus Award–winning anthology The New Space Opera, editors Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan up the ante with The New Space Opera 2, in which more of the most beloved names in science fiction spin stunning tales of interstellar adventure and wonder. Authors include: Neal Asher, John Barnes, Cory Doctorow, John Kessel, Jay Lake, John Meaney, Elizabeth Moon...

This is a wonderful mix of sci fi stories full of adventure, humor and an occassional bit of horror. Some of the tales make you ponder the universe, machines, aliens and control - human, godly or other. Some make you laugh while pondering. There are paradoxes of time, philosophical discussions, all too human issues of romance and betrayal. There are mostly unusual settings and some fantastical creatures although others deal with more recognizable or imaginable places, ships and beings.

When I started listening I intended to make a note on each story. That plan failed since I was often listening while traveling or doing chores and I didn't stop to make notes. There were two or three stories that were duds or “huh?s” for me. However the overall collection was wonderful listening.

Here are some highlight stories and authors I will look to read more from. Beyond the first, which is my favorite, there is no special order among these highlighted.

Chameleons by Elizabeth Moon
This was my favorite tale although it starts out as annoying as a skilled body guard is traveling with two rich and spoiled boys-a teen and a ten year old- who don’t think they need a glorified babysitter. When they become stranded on a seedy space station they begin to appreciate their chaperone and discover hidden depths in their own developing characters. There is a battle with past enemies and a very huge betrayal. This was a wonderful piece and I am going to look for more to read by this author.

From the Heart by John Meaney
This is a tale blending, espionage, double lives and space pilot training...but mostly a tale of how young pilots are awarded their ships and how dreams fall and relationships become divided by pride and choices.

Inevitable by Sean Williams
This engaging short tells of a twist in time paradox bringing two enemies together to see things from different point of views. It is a very good story and I didn’t want it to end when it did was Inevitable.

Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings by Bill Willingham
This fun story is filled with action, humor, piracy, betrayal and heroism — sort of.

Defect (Assassins Universe) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Assassins have skills and enemies, including their bosses. Attempts to break free have consequences.

The Island by Peter Watts
This addresses issues in a far reaching galaxy where a newly discovered, greater life form is found that stands in the path of 'the mission'. There is an intriguing philosophical discussion of altruism versus manipulation, mission versus purpose, cold machine versus compassionate and curious humanity.

Audio Notes: Each story is read by a different narrator. Most of them do a ‘stellar’ job and the overall package makes for grand listening entertainment. I highly recommend this to sci fi fans and other readers as you may discover a new author or two to explore!

I received this for review from Blackstone Audio through Audiobook Jukebox.

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