Peter D. Tillman is a mining geologist
with two previous fiction sales and many professional and technical
publications. He's lived in Arizona for the past twenty
years. His reviews
have appeared in past editions of Dark Planet and in other publications.
is designed and edited by Lucy A. Snyder. If you spot any errors, or if you have any comments,
please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Not of Woman Born
edited by Constance Ash
1999, Penguin USA, $6.99, 272 pp.
Reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
Rating: overall "A" -- best original anthology I've seen this year.
Outstanding stories by WJ Williams and Jack McDevitt; excellent stories
by NK Hoffman, R. Silverberg and others. Highly recommended.
Theme anthologies sometimes suffer from too narrow a focus and/or
carbon-copy stories. Not this one -- the authors interpreted the theme
loosely enough so that I didn't lose interest. And there are some great
Walter Jon Williams makes a killer take at cybernetic family values
in "Daddy's World", and Jack McDevitt delivers the most interesting
look at gengineering one's progeny since Greg Egan's wonderfully sly
"Eugene," in "Dead in the Water." McDevitt's mother-to-be is
particularly well-drawn. A+ stories both; look for them on the award
ballots next year.
"A" stories: Silverberg's 1957 "There Was an Old Woman" is an
amazingly fresh look at cloned lives, even 40 years on. Nina Kiriki
Hoffman takes a sharp look at future retail clerks in "One Day at
Central Convenience Mall." New author Janni Simner cleverly
inverts bringing up baby in "Raising Jenny", and Richard Parks takes
a close look at cloning's impact on showbiz in "Doppels."
Plus "A-" (= flawed but very good) stories by Sage Walker, Susan
Palwick, Patricia McKillip, Wm. F Wu, Doyle & Macdonald, and Kara
Dalkey. Curiously, the weakest story in the bunch is by the editor (and
it's not bad.)