Another retro review and, oddly, a relatively popular one.
This one is from September 24, 2000.
My older, wiser self would no longer say 1984 was “the height of the Cold War”. Better candidates would be the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 or 1983 when Yuri Andropov almost nuked us because of, among other things, activity in meat packing plants.
And wrestling promoters did start their own football league — the short-lived XFL.
Review: Science Fictional Olympics: Asimov’s Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction #2: , eds. Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, and Charles Waugh, 1984.
Olympic contests between the Soviet bloc and America were often exploited for propaganda purposes, the outcome of an athletic event supposedly saying something significant about the victor’s country. This 1984 anthology, from the height of the Cold War, has several stories built around that notion.
Tom Sullivan’s “The Mickey Mouse Olympics” and Nicholas V. Yermakov’s “A Glint of Gold” both feature Soviet and American Olympic athletes genetically modified for their events. Sullivan plays the notion for genuine laughs. Yermakov’s story is much more serious and shows the price the competitors pay as propaganda pawns. He also works in a defection subplot. Continue reading →
Sloth, indolence, sickness, and working on another review for Innsmouth Free Press mean you get another retro review.
It’s a robot book and a August 26, 2000 retro review.
Review: Tin Stars: Isaac Asimov’s Wonderful World of Science Fiction #5, eds. Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, and Charles Waugh, 1986.
“Robots in Judgment” was editor Asimov’s preferred title for this anthology since the stories cover more ground than just robot detectives.
Oh, there are robot detectives here all right. Asimov’s famous human and robot detective team of Lije Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw are here for their only short story appearance, “Mirror Image.” The murderous mobile law enforcer of Ron Goulart’s “Into the Shop” captures the same criminal — again and again. A robotic Sherlock Holmes, his Cockney-rhyming robot dog, and a Watson of mysterious origins investigate the case of a possibly mad industrialist on a future greenhouse Earth in Edward Wellen’s “Voiceover”.
Wellen also gives us an interesting, proto-cyberpunk story, “Finger of Fate”, with its hard-boiled, if immobile, computer who prowls databases and public records to solve his cases. The machines of Harry Harrison’s “Arm of the Law” and Harlan Ellison’s and Ben Bova’s “Brillo” are not exactly detectives but robot cops, and each must deal with police corruption and the difference between theoretical law enforcement and carrying a badge in the real world of humans. “Brillo” also deals with blue collar fears of being replaced by machines. The tin stars of Larry Niven’s famous “Cloak of Anarchy” supervise a Free Park where anything except physical violence goes — until an artist decides to put his political ideas into effect and disable them. Stephen R. Donaldson’s “Animal Lover” is a cyborg federal cop sent to investigate a hunting preserve with an oddly high body count of hunters. Continue reading →