Friday, January 22, 2010

Cosmic Cocktails

(My first Goodreads review, given 3 out of 5 stars)

Until I finished the last word of the introduction, I expected Cosmic Cocktails to have a more lighthearted, humorous, adventurous vein - a step away from space opera. For that reason, I was surprised when it started with a gritty, cynical tone ... darkly humorous, true, but the bar was not the friendly place I expected. The first story that really broke this mold was Favio deMarco, a little over a third of the way through.

Overall, I enjoyed this collection .. especially later on, it had a lot of heart and a lot of laughs, though there were several examples of lopsided pacing and somewhat confusing explanations.

A weakness in the anthology is that doesn't really seem to be in an ideal order. The first story is weak and sets a deceptive tone. The first several stories are all in first person. As previously mentioned, there's a lot of adventure and buoyancy that gets delayed until much later in the book. That said, "The Galaxy's Most Wanted" is a perfect closer.

A strength of the anthology is, with a few exceptions, every story felt as if it could have occurred in the same universe. Even if little details clashed, the stories seemed to create a cohesive big picture. (The stories that didn't still "felt right," they just had major setting details that contradicted the others.)

My personal favorites: On Unconfined Wings, I'm Not Ashamed and A Union Against All Odds.

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