Trace the Stars Edited by Joe Monson and Jaleta Clegg

Trace the Stars was edited by Joe Monson and Jaleta Clegg. I have read one of Jaleta’s novels from back when we had the same publisher, Thus, I was looking forward to seeing what type of anthology she’d been part of releasing. I have to say I was impressed. I read a lot of anthologies and this one outshines most of the short science fiction I have read over the past few years. They really choose the stories well and this gives it a wholistic feel even though the tales all come from different authors. It also has a younger feel and I think its fresh view on space travel are more updated and this book would appeal to younger readers, even those which had not explored the genre yet.

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Hemelein Publications
Released: 2019
Stars:   4.5 Stars
Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

One of the stories which stood out for me was Sweetly the Dragon Dreams by David Farland. First off, this is really more of a novella than a short story, but I like the idea the editors didn’t limit themselves because this tale was worth it. There are even a few pieces closer to flash fiction, so again, nice they opened up the anthology for whatever they felt would fit.

In Farland’s tale a complex society has grown up around humans helping tend to a more advanced race. There could be problems with this relationship, but it pales to the danger an emotionless non-living race poses, which wipes out all life they encounter. When they discover they only have years to prepare before they too will be destroyed, both races work together to try to save their peoples.

Working on Cloud Nine is another story which stood out for me. Written by John M. Olsen, this tale goes into what would occur on a space station staffed by only four people, if one of them turned out to be doing all he could to sabotage the station. The author does not lay out Phil’s motives, goals, or who he works for and the reader is just as much in the dark as the others as to how far Phil will go to endanger their lives and way?

A more lighthearted tale in the collection is Jaleta Clegg’s Making Legends. I thought this was a fun story about how various uptight personalities react when they have all their responsibilities removed. It is in a space opera context, but the story is universal. How would you react if you had no obligations or social pressures? She explores this idea on a space ship with only three remaining crew members with hilarious results.

I have read and reviewed a good number of science fiction anthologies and feel this one does better than stand out. If you enjoy modern science fiction, I think this is a great grab for you to consider. As I said, it has a more contemporary feel and several new concepts are explored within its pages. This is a little lighter than a whole book and also might be good for more relaxed vacation or summer reading for science fiction buffs. Another book worth getting.

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