The Best of Walter Jon Williams • 2021 • Mixed Genre Collection by Walter Jon Williams

★★★★☆

Walter Jon Williams surfed the Cyberpunk wave in the 1980s, but never committed to one particular subgenre. This collection has twelve of his story spreading over 600 pages and demonstrates the variety in his styles. The reader never gets bored by the same trope but finds himself in ever fresh settings, ranging from posthuman, time travel, far future, first contact stories to completely different genres like a Californian Gold Rush Weird Western or a Lord Byron/Shelley Alternate History. 

The best story here is his “Prayers on the Wind” which shows us how humanity would fare as a society of Tibetan Buddhists in space, confronted by an alien captain Kirk. Most stories are above average, and his story notes were partly amusing and always enlightening. 

Highly recommended for readers of SF and speculative fiction who are up to some variety in their daily meals.

Contents:

  1. 11 • ★★★+☆☆ • Daddy’s World • 1999 • Posthuman novelette by Walter Jon Williams • review
  2. 45 • ★★★★☆ • The Golden Age • 2014 • Weird West novelette by Walter Jon Williams • a sailor turns supervillain in the Californian Gold Rush • review
  3. 81 • ★★★☆☆ • Dinosaurs • 1987 • Far future SF novelette by Walter Jon Williams • a posthuman ambassador doesn’t understand the problems of the natives • review
  4. 111 • ★★★★☆ • Surfacing • 1988 • First contact novella by Walter Jon Williams • A linguist explores the strange syntax of cetacean like aliens • review
  5. 179 • ★★+☆☆☆ • Video Star • 1986 • Cyberpunk novelette by Walter Jon Williams • a heist to steal drugs from a hospital • review
  6. 219 • ★★☆☆☆ • The Millenium Party • 2002 • Posthuman SF flash fiction by Walter Jon Williams • A thousand year old couple celebrate their anniversary by using a filtered memory showing only the good sides and best recipes
  7. 223 • ★★★★☆ • The Bad Twin • 1988 • Time Travel novelette by Walter Jon Williams • maxed out timeloops in ancient Greece • review
  8. 265 • ★★★★☆ • The Green Leopard Plague • 2003 • Near Future SF novella by Walter Jon Williams • Photosynthetic skin empower third world people • review
  9. 341 • ★★★☆☆ • Diamonds from Tequila • 2014 • Near Future SF novelette by Walter Jon Williams • Hollywood star encounters 3D printed drug • review
  10. 391 • ★★+☆☆☆ • Margaux • 2003 • novelette by Walter Jon Williams • Prequel to the Praxis • review
  11. 451 • ★★★★★ • Prayers on the Wind • 1991 • Religious SF novelette by Walter Jon Williams • Tibetan Buddhism in space is challenged by aliens • review
  12. 503 • ★★★★☆ • Wall, Stone, Craft • 1993 • Alternate History novella by Walter Jon Williams • The Shelleys meet Lord Byron, the man who caught Napoleon after Waterloo • review
  13. 595 story notes

Meta: isfdb, published at 28.02.2021 by Subterranean Press.

This entry was posted in Anthology, Fantasy, Science Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Best of Walter Jon Williams • 2021 • Mixed Genre Collection by Walter Jon Williams

  1. pdtillman says:

    Well, you beat me to the finish. I got distracted by, well, stuff. I’ll finish it soon and turn in a review, to keep NG happy. Why I don’t ask for a lot of those…. And why they don’t give me that many! I hate feeling obligated.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bormgans says:

    Oomph, 600 pages of short stories. Do you have any other WJW recommendations? Never read the man.

    Liked by 1 person

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