This anthology is everything I would expect and more. Each selection not only fits into the genre of “space opera,” but also correlates to the theme of persons and/or places that lie on the fringes of the mainstream. At Galaxy's Edge is thereby quite a fitting title. Among its twelve stories, nearly every space opera reader will find more than a few books that suit their tastes, and possibly great new leads on new material.
As an anthology, I can't use my standard form for reviewing this book. So the following is a brief overview of my favorites (in order of printing). An excerpt containing a full list and descriptions can be found on Amazon.
I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Good Food – Michael Azell
Far removed from the glory days of past, decorated marine Jensen has been dispatched on a less than exciting mission: investigate an unexplained loss of vegetation on a seed planet. All he had to do was voyage, collect samples, and return. At least that was the plan. Certainly a boring mission considering the planet's only life is the plants and small bugs which had been placed there. But, a motion alarm and a jittery K-9 would suggest otherwise.
The Epsilon Directive – David Bruns
The United Earth Federation had won the war against an alien race known as the Scythians, but the danger of resurgence dictated that winning was not nearly enough. Hence why the Epsilon Units, also known as “Eraser Squads,” were directed to continue their methodical tracking and extermination of the remaining Scythians. One member of such a squad is Tom, who is nearly a conscientious objector but regardless enlisted for the sake of family traditions. When he finds his current target being shielded by humans, his notions of right and wrong rise to the surface when he makes decisions which contradict his unit's mandate.
Second Place – Nick Webb
It has been many years since the first men set foot on the surface of Mars. In the intervening time, many others have followed in the effort to colonize Mars, and Frank Bickham's bitterness about being the second to do so has fully matured. That is, if such pettiness could ever be described as mature. But there is still one first on Mars that hasn't been achieved. Frank intends to be the first to die there. Stage an act of heroism and die in a blaze of glory is a rather simple plan. But Frank finds that the will to execute can be complicated in ways he never imagined.
Procurement – Adam Quinn
Very few people appreciate the complexities of bureaucratic process. Then again, most only see intentional obfuscation and hindrances, while their inexperience does not value the possibilities of exploiting such complexities. The Meltian Republic is dominated by this process, and is where Captain Brook operates the Interstellar Emergency Service. An agency dedicated to exactly what the name would imply. That was, until she destroyed her ship in the latest mission. Brook must now navigate the red tape and save her agency before a conspiracy shuts her down.
Elvis Has Left the Building – Caroline A. Gill
To complete the journey to a distant planet, starship Epsilon Pi-15 has been staffed with five pilots. Each pilot is to complete a 5 year shift before waking their cryofrozen relief pilots. With only an Adjunct Human Interface for companion, the pilots become threatened by the insanity brought on by isolation. Multi-Global Corporate thought this plan was sound, or at least worth the gamble to save share prices. Their reliance on human input was there greatest mistake, and the robot Rora knew it. When one captain plunges over the edge of reality and begins the destruction which would compromise the mission, Rora decides upon a course of action which is barely permissible by her key protocol: do no harm to humans.
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