I love short stories, and science fiction ones tend to land the format well. Sci-Fi Short by Mark Roman and Duncan Galloway delivers nineteen stories ranging from the very short micro-fiction of 100 words to (based on a few guesses) some at around 6,000 words or thereabouts. (See the bottom of this post for the math.)
This was an entertaining anthology of short science fiction. Some funny, some thoughtful, one actually not science fiction at all but rather a behind-the-scenes look at a Nigerian money scammer which felt a little out of place in a sci-fi anthology.
If I had to choose my favourites from the book, I’d go with:
- The Rovers Return – A story of a repair robot trying to fix the various Mars landers/rovers and accidentally creating the god of all robots.
- We’re Back – no spoilers, but a very short story at 90 seconds long, but with an excellently fun twist.
- The Last Man on Earth – A somewhat sad tale of an elderly man whose dying wish is to be the last man alive on earth, and his robot butler that is trying to help make that come true.
- Farther Christmas – A touching story of a man being questioned by MI5 agents about a Christmas message broadcast specifically for him from 10.5 light years away. And yes, it is “Farther”.
Each chapter is self-contained so it’s easy to listen to in short bursts. The narration by Duncan Galloway was generally well done. Galloway has an easy voice to listen to and well suited the stories. A couple of chapters had issues with the production, where some background noises/shuffling sounds were audible, but for the most part the rest of the stories were clean.
Overall, a great collection of short stories. I’d love to have more of these!
* – On average, performers narrate around 9,300 words per hour. The longest stories in this audiobook are around 40 minutes, so a more than half the 9k.