Monday, January 12, 2009

REVIEW: Return To Luna

Title: Return to Luna: Stories From the Lunar Settlements
Editor: Eric T. Reynolds
Genre: science fiction anthology
Price: $15.95
Publisher: Hadley Rille Books
ISBN: 978-0-9819243-2-8
Point of Sale: publisher | Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

Hadley Rille Books is a new small publisher, specializing in science fiction anthologies. The press, named after a valley or “rille” on the Moon, is the brainchild of Eric T. Reynolds. They’ve put out six or so books so far, and if they are anything like this one, my second purchase from the company, one can’t go wrong buying from them. Although Hadley Rille Books may be a small operation, they have first-rate production values, so this book is solidly edited and assembled.

Return to Luna is the result of the National Space Society’s 2008 fiction contest, and the nineteen short stories in this anthology were selected by a jury of editors and writers. In a typical anthology, I find a couple of the stories less engaging then others – not so here. All nineteen of these short works are gems, well worth your time.

The rules of the contest were simple: write a short story about man’s return to Earth’s moon. The story had to be relatively near-future, and couldn’t include aliens or non-realistic levels of technology. This might seem to be a limiting rule-set, but the stories here all met the rules and a surprising level of originality.

Since I liked all the stories, deciding which ones to talk about in this review was a bit difficult. I ended up settling on the criteria of “most memorable” out of the group. They are:

Visual Silence by M. C. Chambers – This short was the Grand Prize winner, and deals with the interaction between a man born deaf since birth and a woman rendered mute by a stroke. Both of them are residents of a lunar colony on the Moon’s south pole.

Joe the Martian Goes to the Moon by Ken Edgett – The title refers to a character in a children’s educational program. A young man goes to the Moon wearing the “Joe the Martian” costume, and his adventures during the trip prove interesting.

The Return by David Schibi – This story tells the tale of the ill-fated first settlement on the Moon and that settlement’s sole survivor, 62 years later. It’s a real tear-jerker.

Apples on the Moon by Karen T. Smith – A shipment of apples arrives on a lunar settlement, and some of the local teenagers decide to intercept a few. Romance and danger follow.

In Their Own Words by Brenta Blevins – A historian conducts several interviews while developing a history of lunar settlement. Not much plot, but a very interesting character study.

Return to Luna is an outstanding short story anthology, and I hope you decide to buy it.

RATING 10/10


Phoebe Barton said...

As one of the authors, I suppose I'm a little deflated to see that mine didn't make the top-five cut of memorability. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. All of the stories I've read in the collection are worthy of their place there, and it's good to see reviews starting to pop up. I'm glad you enjoyed the whole thing!

Chris Gerrib said...

This was really a tough anthology to review, since I liked them all!