As with any short story anthology, Infinite Science Fiction One is a solid if variable collection of science fiction stories from around the world. Zuwen has pulled together a number of different authors and ideas of varying lengths and quality. Of the fifteen stories there were five standouts—Tin Soul by Elizabeth Bannon; Slow by Jay Wilburn; Nothing Beside Remains by Matthew S. Dent; Message of War by Michaele Jordan; and Infinity by J.B. Rockwell.
Bannon’s Tin Soul explores robophobia and how it ruins a man’s life and his relationship with his family. It is structured around an emotional reveal that, while slightly manipulative, elevates the story and posits a tragically plausible intersection between humans, robots, and the perils of the uncanny valley.
Wilburn’s Slow is a slice of good old-fashioned body horror. On a distant world, an astronaut slowly succumbs to an alien parasite as it consumes him and transforms him. There is an immediacy, and horrible precision to the story and the astronaut’s experiences. There is nothing particularly original, but it showcases an author in command of his craft.
Dent’s Nothing Beside Remains is the sad and oddly touching story of a Mars Rover continuing to perform its function and report to its distant creators, century after century with no reply. A simple idea, powerfully rendered, the melancholy stuck in my mind.
Jordan’s Message of War is an odd, almost fantastical tale of matriarchal power, assimilation and forgetting. There is a strong anti-war message that is complicated by a depiction of genocide and the power to erase an entire people from memory. A thought-provoking science fiction fable.
Rockwell’s Infinity is another tale of technology, steadfastly, and tragically going about its purpose. A battered, crippled battleship dreams and tries desperately to save its crew in hibernation, unable to determine if they are even alive.
Of the remaining stories, Tim Major’s By the Numbers which explored society’s obsession with personal data had an interesting concept was too short to fully engage with its own ideas. Janka Hobbs’ Real was a character study of a robot child but the human characters and their motivations were a little too confused.
Dany G. Zuwen compiled a fairly solid anthology with a number of standouts. I look forward to Infinite Science Fiction Two.
Infinite Science Fiction One can be found here on Amazon.
Received a Copy From NetGalley For Review