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The 2020 Look at Space Opera Book


edited by Allan Kaster

          Paperback price: $22.99                        e-book price: $6.99

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This collection presents 20 of the best space operas published over the past 20 years in more or less chronological order and edited by Allan Kaster.


  • “Mayflower II”  by Stephen Baxter
  • In this story, a Locus Award finalist, one thousand people aboard five generation starships leave the Sol system to flee an enemy that threatens to destroy their way of life.
  • “On the Orion Line” by Stephen Baxter
  • In this story, nominated for a Hugo Award, a soldier fights for survival behind enemy lines, on an alien vessel, thousands of light-years from Earth.
  • “Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette
  • In this story, a Locus Award finalist, space pirates haul in booty aboard a living spaceship that doesn’t quite smell right.
  • “By the Warmth of Their Calculus” by Tobias S. Buckell
  • The captain of a dustship musters her crew to escape from a trap set by Hunter-Killers in a game of cat and mouse amid the rings of a giant planet.
  • “Weep for Day” by Indrapramit Das
  • A woman recalls a childhood train journey, on a planet with a permanent dayside and a nightside of eternal darkness, to see a captured specimen of the Nightmare race.
  • “Glory” by Greg Egan
  • In this story, nominated for a Hugo Award, mathematicians seek to learn more from a civilization, on another planet, that spent three million years doing math.
  • “The Ice Owl” by Carolyn Ives Gilman
  • In this story, nominated for a Nebula Award , an alienated teenager, in a domed iron city on a planet where a fundamentalist revolt is brewing, seeks to uncover her enigmatic tutor’s long-held secret.
  • “Saving Tiamaat“ by Gwyneth Jones
  • Human diplomats must deal their own cultural biases while dealing with two representatives from warring factions on a newly discovered planet.
  • “Someday” by James Patrick Kelly
  • In this story, a Locus Award finalist, peculiar mating rituals and divergent evolution have developed on a lost colony that has been out of contact with the rest of humanity.
  • “Jonas and the Fox” by Rich Larson
  • An enemy of the revolution, on a colonized planet, uploads a digital copy of himself into the body of a braindead boy in an attempt to escape off-world.
  • “Extracurricular Activities” by Yoon Ha Lee
  • In this story nominated for a Hugo Award and set in the author’s Machineries of Empire universe, an undercover agent infiltrates a space station to recover the crew of a lost ship.
  • “Dead Men Walking” by Paul McAuley
  • In this story, a Locus Award finalist, programmed military doppelgängers continue to carry out their missions long after the Quiet War’s end.
  • “The City of the Dead” by Paul McAuley
  • The constable in a settlement on a planet full of the tombs of a long-vanished alien race befriends a woman who researches dangerous hive rats.
  • “Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathangan” by Ian McDonald
  • In this story, a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist, an aristocrat’s trip to Venus, in search of her disgraced brother, is memorialized by papercuts of flora native to the planet.
  • “The Third Party” by David Moles
  • Two rival space-faring cultures vie for influence over the people of a forgotten human world.
  • “The Hero” by Karl Schroeder
  • A dying young man on a treasure hunt tries to save a world that’s devoid of gravity and lit by artificial suns.
  • “Bright Red Star” by Bud Sparhawk
  • Modified combat troops must deal with recalcitrant settlers on a planet being attacked by hostile aliens.
  • “The Days Between” by Allen M. Steele
  • In this story, nominated for both a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, a man aboard a ship in deep space wakes up from biostasis at the wrong time.
  • “Slow Life” by Michael Swanwick
  • In this Hugo Award winning story, an astronaut in a damaged balloon struggles to survive eight hundred meters above the surface of a sea on Titan.
  • “The Island” by Peter Watts
  • In this Hugo Award winning story, an eternal aboard a slower than light ship is woken to investigate an unexplained signal emanating from the area of the ship’s next stargate construction site.