I’ve reviewed several of NewCon Press’ anthologies, and this is the first which is purely an SF anthology. As with the other volumes, the anthology is themed, and the first story gets into ‘conflict’ through the ‘military SF’ genre. It’s a ‘Combak-K Adventure’, and I’ve seen novels by Remic advertised in the back of some Solaris books. The adverts gave me a feeling that it wasn’t quite the kid of SF I’d really like, and the first couple of pages of this story confirmed that.
Maybe I’m being a bit uncharitable, but the opening pages felt rather like a pastiche to me. The motley crew of soldiers are introduced, including ‘Franco Harris – adventurer, demolitions experts, sexual athlete’, who bursts into the hold ‘like a ginger tsunami’. It feels like the stuff I was writing in my mid-teens (and stopped writing in my mid-teens). I liked the Aliens films, I liked played Doom/Quake in the 90s, and if I had time I’d probably be playing the just-released Starcraft 2 (except my eldest son has taken the computer game playing mantle from me – with aplomb).
So, suffice to say, a story which didn’t encourage me to get beyond a couple of pages. I’m sure others will enjoy it. But I’m equally sure it won’t be appearing in any of the Year’s Best anthologies, or troubling the Nebula/Hugo panels, and that is, after all, my benchmark.