Guardian Angels & Other Monsters, by Daniel H. Wilson

Guardian Angels & Other Monsters, by Daniel H. Wilson book coverGenre:  Science Fiction Anthology
Publisher:  Vintage Books
Published: 2018
Reviewer Rating: four stars
Reviewer:  David L. Felts

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I’d read and enjoyed a couple of Wilson’s novels, so when offered a chance to check out his upcoming anthology, I jumped at it.

Guardian Angels & Other Monsters and an interesting collection of shorts, mostly science fiction, some arguable science fantasy, and one fantasy without and SF.

As with all anthologies, this one had it’s ups and downs. Although in aggregate, Wilson explores a variety of genres, the overall theme of this antho was one of technology, both good and bad.

Table of Contents

  • Miss Gloria: An AI robot bodyguard charged with protecting a young girl discovers unforeseen (and for me unconvincing) abilities as it goes about its mission.
  • The Blue Afternoon that Lasted Forever: Wonderfully written short about a man spending time with his daughter.
  • Jack, the Determined: Nicely done, but an ending I saw coming a mile away defused most of it.
  • The Executor: This one had a cool, cyber-punkish feel too it. A potential heir to the largest fortune on earth has to deal with the AI executor in charge as well as various factions of descendants seeking to claim the fortune.
  • Helmut: Yikes! A post-apocalyptic tale that’s more horror (in feel) than science fiction. One of my favorites.
  • Blood Memory: This one reminded me of Stephen King’s “Jaunt”. Seems we’ve invented instant matter teleportation. But it doesn’t work so well with living things.
  • Foul Weather: Just as Blood Memory evoked “Jaunt”, this one evoked that Twlight Zone episode with William Shatner titled “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”. Maybe the weather is influence by more than just pressure, temperature, and wind and moisture…. Creepy.
  • The Nostalgist: an elderly man interacts with his “grandson” through the use of sensory augmentation devices. What happens when he gets new ones? This one didn’t much grab me.
  • Parasite: A Robopocalyse Story: another fun mash-up of science fiction and horror. Humanity may have won the war, but what about the those humans involuntarily drafted to the robot side? Both this and Helmut dealt with similar themes, which is pretty much machines doing what they want to humans and us not being able to do much about it. And, when remade, how much human is left?
  • God Mode: Sorry, this one went right over my head. Maybe some sort of consciousness creates reality thing?
  • Garden of Life: Like Dr. Ian Malcolm said in the first Jurassic Park; “Life finds a way.” A (very) short tale about discovering new species. Too short to pull me in.
  • All Kinds of Proof: Joe is a drunk, but there’s one thing he might be good for, training a robot to find it’s way around the city. A mild tale about friendship.
  • One For Sorrow: A Clockwork Dynasty Story: My favorite of the bunch. Not all robots are made of electronics. Elena is alive, in a way, and perhaps more human that even she suspects.
  • Special Automatic: James is a special kid who builds a special friend. Although I like the idea of the underdog persevering, an autistic kid building a robot out of spare parts seems a bit far-fetched, even for this antho.

Overall a fun read. A must for Wilson fans and a strong recommend for those of the genre.

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