Review: Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales of Hard Science Fiction

Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales of Hard Science Fiction
Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales of Hard Science Fiction by Ben Bova

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I got this audiobook without paying attention to who narrated it. Uncharacteristic of me yes, but there are several narrators involved and I knew I would like some and dislike others. It’s all personal preference. But when the first voice I heard was Stefan Rudnicki’s I lit up. He has narrated hundreds of science fiction books and is producer of Lightspeed Magazine podcast. I really love his narrating style. In this book he reads the introduction to each story and one or two of the stories themselves. His wasn’t the only familiar voice I heard. I think a few others have done work on science fiction podcasts.

Alright, as for the stories themselves, the first story packs a real punch in the emotional department. I loved it and felt the book was off to a promising start. It wasn’t alone but if I had to give stars to individual stories most of them would get two stars (“it was ok”).

I listen to several short story podcasts, all of them scifi/fantasy or horror. If we’re sticking to the idea of giving each story stars I would say a little over half of the stories from any of those podcasts get three or more stars. This collection did just a little worse than that. I did end up skipping a few stories because I found them totally uninteresting.

This is a collection of hard scifi. It was put together with real science in mind and that was what really attracted me to it so I was surprised to find a few there that seemed incredibly well … soft. One in particular had telepathy as a major part of the plot. I kept wondering if they thought of Greg Egan when putting this together because he really blows me away in the hard scifi genre but maybe it’s because he doesn’t like having and internet presence. Or maybe nobody cares about Greg Egan (but you should if you don’t).

I really wish I could rate each author separately because I wouldn’t give two stars to every story but I have to give this book a measly two star rating because that’s really all it gave.

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