Beyond: Space Opera

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...A set of diverse space opera stories for fans of the genre....

A collection of short stories based in Outer Space. On the planet Zeta 6, Captain Quasar is investigating some missing children when his landing party are captured, leaving him the quandary of where are the children and how to rescue his crew before they all wind up dead. Lorelei’s diamond heist goes wrong as when she uses a jetpack to escape, it seems that one enterprising cop is also using a jetpack to follow her, even when she gets beyond their jurisdiction. A ship heading for Deep Space runs into trouble when an illness on board spreads, slowly destroying the mental and physical state of everyone on board. A bartender is asked to help smuggle someone off planet, and finds he is more involved in the situation than he knows. A spaceship carrying wild animals runs into an asteroid storm leaving one technician stuck between a Lion’s den and the possible cold depths of space. Trapped on a planet, the Captain and her ship of clones are forced to make a bargain with the creature that holds them captive, only one of the clones is troubled by the actions of her original.

A collection of short stories set in the vastness of space, covering a wide range of ideas and carried out in several different styles. From the humorous to the horrific, each one is unique enough compared to the others to stand out in their own right. All the authors have crafted excellent pieces of work that hook you in and leave you going from story to story until they have all been read. Each one has a different take on Space Opera, but they come complete with an interesting set of characters and a plot that may make you laugh or make you think. While it may appear small, it packs a lot of value in its few pages and several of them are worth a re-read to pick up the nuances of the story. My personal favourite is “All Comms Down” in which a deep space transport is not ready for the journey it is about to undertake with horrifying consequences. The descriptions of what occurs to the passengers and crew is disturbing, as they are each affected in turn with no hope of escape.

The formatting and layout are fine, although I did have some trouble with the final story. Grammar and spelling were excellent throughout and it was easy to read each one in turn. There are helpful links for each author and other works they have written after each story, along with a brief description of how each story came to be at the back of the book.

Overall, this is a great set of Space Opera shorts that are worth reading and then exploring the other stories from the authors if you enjoy them.

Rating: 4
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