Gregory Benford, editor,
(DAW, 2004)

Microcosms, a collection of 13 science-fiction stories by 13 writers, is offered by DAW Books and edited by scientist Gregory Benford, author of Cosm, a novel about space-time creation.

An enclosed world is just that. There are finite limits to its lengths and breadths, though these will be generously allotted or not, depending on the writer. It is possible that these worlds can be changed by the inhabitants' own actions.

In "A Moment of Your Time" by Mike Resnick and Dean Wesley Smith, a researcher in time travel solves the population problem of an overcrowded Earth. Geoffrey A.Landis creates in "Ouroboros" a super-computer that provides the simulations of a whole universe. Who watches? Who exists in real-time?

Political exiles from Earth complete 50-year sentences in a world within a tiny asteroid. George Zebrowski, in "My First World," watches his characters wait for the airships that are scheduled to take them home. What happens when the ships are overdue?

Robert Sheckley in "A Spirit of Place" describes a man alone in an alien world. When a spaceship arrives, its strange crew regard him with awe. He wonders why.

There are the other writers to hear from -- Robert J. Sawyer, Tom Purdom, Russell Blackford, Pamela Sawyer, Howard V. Hendrix, Jamil Nasir, Paul Levinson, Stephen Baxter and Jack McDevitt complete the roster.

Every writer on the list of 13 is a talented craftsman of these eerie stories that play on our collective claustrophobias. We read with the feeling that our hair is standing on end. We knew this would happen. It always does when we read good science fiction.

- Rambles
written by Jean Marchand
published 29 May 2004

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