REVIEW SUMMARY: A commendable and worthwhile swan song for the Infinity Plus website.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An omnibus of two previously released anthologies containing a total of 26 sf/f stories.
PROS: 18 stories good or better, with 7 of those reaching excellence; a fine representation of what the Infinity Plus website had to offer.
CONS: 8 stories mediocre or worse.
BOTTOM LINE: Infinity Plus – The Anthology offers stories that are both diverse and quite enjoyable.
The Infinity Plus website was one of the first to offer free online fiction to science fiction and fantasy fans, way before it was ever in vogue. The site was the brainchild of Keith Brooke (and later co-edited with Nick Gevers and Paul Barnett) and just recently closed its virtual doors after a 10-year run that saw the publication of two anthologies: Infinity Plus One and Infinity Plus Two.
As a swan song, Solaris has released Infinity Plus – The Anthology, an omnibus edition that slightly reorders the stories as they were presented in the original anthologies. At 687 pages, the book is fairly big for its mass market paperback-like size. Still, it would have been nice to see a few pages spent on story introductions and author bios rather than being pointed to the Infinity Plus website for details.
The stories represent those that were chosen by the editors when they asked authors to pick the stories they felt deserved renewed attention. The resulting quality is about what you would reasonably expect from an anthology: some stories are more successful than others. Apply your own personal taste filter. On the bright side, this has more good stuff than bad. I do wonder if any thought was given to including any fiction that has appeared online since Infinity Plus Two saw print in 2003. They’ve published some big names over the years…
Standout stories in Infinity Plus – The Anthology include “Radio Waves” by Michael Swanwick, “Home Time” by Ian R. MacLeod, “Memories of the Flying Ball Bike Shop” by Garry Kilworth, “The Arcevoalo” by Lucius Shepard, “Faithful” by Ian McDonald, “The Old Rugged Cross” by Terry Bisson and “Swiftly” by Adam Roberts.
Individual story reviews follow…
Read the rest of this entry