Aaron Hughes, over on Fantastic Reviews, has some thoughts on my anthology, Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge.Aaron begins by rounding up some recent notable anthologies, and then says that Fast Forward 1, "...may prove more important than any of these, because it is the first in a planned series of unthemed original anthologies - something that has not been done effectively since Patrick Nielsen Hayden's Starlight series from 1996 to 2001. It is nice to see Pyr, a relatively new SF publisher, using the original anthology format to showcase its brand of literary yet entertaining SF."
Aaron particularly likes the book's novella, as he writes, "For my money, the single best story in Fast Forward 1 is 'Sideways from Now' by John Meaney, a British author who is fast becoming one of my favorites. 'Sideways from Now' combines familiar SF tropes such as telepathy and alternate universes, but weaves them together in very original ways, blending two disparate styles." Aaron goes on to make comparisons to Meaney's story-within-a-story to the New Weird, then adds, "At 69 pages, 'Sideways from Now' is the longest story in the book, but so richly layered that it is difficult to believe Meaney was able to contain the tale in as few pages. I will certainly be nominating this story for a Hugo Award, for it is inconceivable that there could be five better novellas published this year."
Aaron also likes stories by Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Robert Charles Wilson, Paul Di Filippo and others, and concludes, "this book demonstrates what a variety of authors and stories science fiction can encompass. By its wide array of different approaches to the future, Fast Forward 1 gives us an encouraging glimpse into the future of science fiction."
He also made an interesting observation, which may be relevant to recent discussions of the decline of digest magazines and the rise of several new annual, unthemed SF volumes in Fast Forward's wake: "There is precedent for original anthologies filling the void when print magazines suffer a period of decline. When multiple digests folded in the late 1960's and early 70's, anthologies such as Orbit, Universe, New Dimensions, and Dangerous Visions picked up the slack. (Notably, stories from original anthologies received over 40 Hugo nominations in the 1970's, after print magazines had accounted for all but one of the short fiction nominations before 1968.)"