edited by Allan Kaster
Paperback coming soon e-book price: $6.99
An unabridged collection spotlighting the best hard science fiction stories and novellas published in 2021 by current and emerging masters of the science fiction genre, edited by Allan Kaster.
- "Light Up the Clouds" by Greg Egan—Inhabitants in the floating forests of a gas giant that orbits a dwarf star launch a glider on an orbital trajectory to investigate unnatural asteroid-like objects that threaten their survival.
- "Striding the Blast" by Gregory Feeley—As a form of punishment, a thief is forced by posthumans to race on a set of wings across a cloud-covered Mercury.
- "Little Animals" by Nancy Kress—Using entangled quantum effects, a researcher goes back in time and unexpectedly becomes immersed in the life of the daughter of Antonj van Leeuwenhoek.
- "Flowers Like Needles" by Derek Künsken—A metallic crablike creature living on a planet orbiting a pulsar confronts other warriors in its quest for wisdom.
- "The Planetbreaker's Son" by Nick Mamatas—Interstellar posthuman emigrants, on a starship the size of a football stadium, grapple with vessel maintenance and family preservation while destroying worlds.
- "Paley's Watch" by Anil Menon—Fishermen find a peculiar artifact in the Gulf of Alaska that is older than Earth and models the structure of the Universe.
- "The Metric" by David Moles—A billion-year-old ship delivers a message to a far-future Earth that could mean the destruction of space and time.
- "Año Nuevo" by Ray Nayler—Listless aliens, resembling oversized plastic garbage bags, suddenly disappear thirty years after arriving on a California beachfront.
- "Vaccine Season" by Hannu Rajaniemi—A boy ventures out to an island to inoculate his secluded grandfather with a transmissible vaccine in a post-pandemic.
- "Submergence" by Arula Ratnakar—An investigator uncovers the exploitation of an unusual marine sponge while optogenetically accessing the memories of a scientist who died unexpectedly.
- "Aptitude" by Cooper Shrivastava—A woman from a slowly dying universe finds herself having to take a rigorous standardized exam after cheating her way into the selection process to become a universe builder.
- "The Egg Collectors" by Lavie Tidhar—Two wild ballooners, forced to land during an ice storm, discover humming black eggs melting into the ice of Titan's Ligeia Mare.