Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Stories of Hard Science Fiction - Edited by Ben Bova and Eric Choi

Release Date - December 2014

Tor Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Carbide Tipped Pens pays tribute to a sci-fi writing group that Ben Bova and Eric Choi were part of a couple decades ago. The focus of this book is on sci-fi stories wrapped around a specific aspect of technology. As there are 17 stories in all, which is a little much to cover in one review, I read this collection and then sat back to see which stories really stood out for me after time passed. These are the ones that still linger in the back of my mind.

The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever is a short story by Daniel H. Wilson. In this story, readers meet a single dad, who is a scientist, and he finds the end of the world is coming. His parental love kicks in as he rushes to keep his daughter as safe as he can during the resulting apocalypse.

Ben Bova's Old Timer's Game takes a look at baseball and where it can go. Anyone who follows baseball knows all about the scandals of steroids, but what happens if newer medical treatments and technologies suddenly change a player's endurance and strength?

Skin Deep is a story by Leah Petersen and Gabrielle Harbowy that delves into a new use for tattoos. This newer tattoo technology has the power to treat any allergy, but at what cost?

In Eric Choi's She Just Looks That Way, the hero decides to undergo a procedure that will erase emotions connected to his memories. He doesn't want his memories to go away, but he wants to move past a serious attraction he has to a woman he knows. Will the outcome be everything he hoped?

This is only a small sampling of the stories found within Carbide Tipped Pens. Some delve into the things many think of when thinking about science fiction - robots, other planets, and others take things we know and love like Shakespeare, the romance between famous characters like Romeo and Juliet, and put them in a new situation or setting.

Whether you're looking to find a new sci-fi author or simply want to read a selection of short stories, Carbide Tipped Pens is an intriguing collection that definitely makes you think about the world and technology surrounding you.


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