Space Folk

by Poul Anderson
Reviewed date: 2007 Aug 26
303 pages
cover art

I find Poul Anderson's non-Flandry stories to be better than his Flandry books. (Flandry isn't particularly likable.) So Space Folk is excellent. Most of the stories here are good. Deathwomb and Quest are my favorites, Elementary Mistake is good, and Horse Trader is great. Wherever You Are isn't as much good, and I didn't enjoy Murphy's Hall at all--too abstract.

  • Pride: A deep-space expedition to Nemesis turns sinister when Nemesis goes into its active state earlier than expected. A pilot risks her life to recover a probe with priceless data before it falls into Nemesis.
  • Vulcan's Forge: Captain Ashe and his Kittiwake help the Mercury outpost explore the asteroid Vulcan; Kittiwake runs into a solar storm and her computer--the thoughts and memories of Ashe's late wife--is damaged.
  • Escape the Morning: A young boy who lives on the moon rescues Achille Kamolondo, a Zairian who is stranded when a meteorite damages his Go-Devil.
  • Quest: A lost colony of 13th century spacegoing Britons mounts an expedition to find the Holy Grail--but Sir Eric is wary that the grail may be a trap.
  • Wherever You Are: A crash strands two explorers on a remote part of a planet whose atmosphere shrouds the planet and allows no view of the stars. Without a way to navigate or even find their location, they will never find the lone human outpost on the planet.
  • Elementary Mistake: Disaster threatens when the crew of Widsith lands on a new planet, but cannot find the raw metals to construct a mattercaster to return to Earth. They race against time to find alternatives to the missing metals, because the alien atmosphere renders them drunk.
  • Symmetry: An alien device duplicates an explorer and places two copies of him inside a box. The man cannot get out because each copy of him takes the exact same actions, at the exact same time. He must find a way to break the cycle of symmetry before they both starve to death.
  • Hunter's Moon: The dromids and ouranids of Medea are at war. The dromids blame the ouranids for the rising infertility of the dromids.
  • Deathwomb: A Berserker story, with permission from Fred Saberhagen. The planet Adam makes a deal with the berserkers: they will lead the berserkers to a planet teeming with nonhuman life, and in exchange the berserkers will leave Adam alone.
  • Murphy's Hall: The extinction of humanity.
  • Horse Trader: Auchinleck Welcome runs an interspecies trading post, where knowledge is bartered and exchanged. The theft of a disc of high-pressure chemistry data puts the integrity of the trading post in jeopardy. Welcome must discover the thief.

Archive | Search