Science Fiction From Out There by Wayne Greenough

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Science Fiction From Out There by Wayne Greenough
 Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (76 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Here for your pleasure are six adventure stories shipped to you from a post office box somewhere in a remote corner of the universe.

A word of caution about the stories written by someone who is using the name Wayne Greenough. You might wish to live them, which he might have done. It is up to you to decide whether he did or didn’t. If he did, then you can do the same thing for adventure is everywhere in the universe.

What happens when inventions and scientific discoveries outpace society’s response to them? Is it possible to prepare for a future no one can predict?

This collection made me wish I was an explorer even though I’ve never understood the appeal of that profession before. While exploring other worlds and times can be quite dangerous, there is something mesmerizing about being the first person to try a new technological breakthrough or visit an unknown place.

In “The Calling Stars” Douglas and Rebecca have an unusual backup plan to protect them from their dangerous occupation. They are introduced to the reader as a blissfully happy engaged couple, but Douglas talks down to Rebecca and refuses to listen to what she had to say. On the rare occasion that he does listen to her their conversations feel stilted. The premise immediately captured my imagination, but the dysfunction in Rebecca and Douglas’ relationship made it difficult for me to root for them to find one another after they are separated by circumstances beyond their control.

It was easy to figure out the twist in “Assassin” early on, but I still found it amusing to see how Drooper McGinnis reacts when he is sent back in time to stop a dangerous man. Completing this mission will erase his debt to society, but will it truly clear his name? While the main plot points were put to rest in the final scene they would have made more of an impact on me if I had been given a little more insight into Drooper’s personality beforehand.

The best story here by far is “Die Hard.” I could imagine precisely how frustrated Emil Ludlow feels when his monthly shipment of science fiction novels is held back due to a ridiculous bureaucratic error, and the series of letters he sends to the Science Fantasy Home Book Club in an attempt to fix it are hilarious. I never wanted Emil’s misadventures to end, and I hope to hear from him again soon in the sequel that could easily come out of what happens in the last letter from his book club.

I had such high hopes for “Messiah.” When Dr. MacDonald and Dr. Harcourt first land on the alien planet I could never have imagined what their samples of plants, soil, rocks, and water will tell them about this virgin world. The answers to the mystery the uncover felt tacked on, though, and based on what I learned about their personalities and ethical codes I had a difficult time understanding a decision one of the characters makes at the end.

At first I was a little confused by the inclusion of “The Wraith.” The science fiction elements in it were not immediately apparent, and as much as I liked hearing Tank Richards impression of the new gin join he’s visiting and the stranger he meets there I wondered how “The Wraith” would fit in with the rest of the stories in this collection. Figuring out this mystery was such a rewarding experience that as soon as I finished reading I immediately started over again with the first paragraph.

The first time I read “Space Pilot” I thought I misunderstood what Charley the space pilot was doing on his test run. Certain aspects of the plot were so sparse that I needed to read it again before I realized that my first interpretation was correct. It has a fantastic premise, but “Space Pilot” would have had more of an impact on me had more time been taken to develop Charley’s personality and include subtle clues about what was actually happening to him.

Science Fiction From Out There kept me on my toes from beginning to end. This is a great choice for readers who prefers science fiction that is more interested in society’s response to unbelievable technological breakthroughs than with how those discoveries were made.

Comments

  1. Thank you for reviewing Science Fiction From Out There.

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