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Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Jurassic London, 2013
Editor: Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin
Overall Review: 3/5
Reviewed by: Sandra Scholes

It is no surprise that some names in here are well known in writing circles: Jon Courtney Grimwood, Alastair Reynolds, Lavie Tidhar, Simon Morden and E.J. Swift. Most have had their stories published in major magazines such as Interzone, Doctor Who, F & SF, Lightspeed and Subterranean. The Lowest Heaven is a collection of seventeen stories from award-winning authors that are inspired by “a body in the solar system.”

The bonus for the reader is that these stories have never been published before and come with images from the archives of the National Maritime Museum. Here, the line between science fiction and science fact has long been debated, and what has long been fiction has now become fact-based. Star Trek is a science fiction TV series that has inspired scientists to create some of the electronic tools we use every day. Astronomer, Dr Marek Kukuka, understands that most of us only get a glimpse of the stars and planets from looking through telescopes, through seeing photographs and reading sci-fi stories. Here we get the chance to see the images and read the stories about each planet.

Jon Courtney Grimwood has “The Jupiter Files,” Alastair Reynolds has “A Map of Mercury,” while Lavie Tidhar writes about “Only Human,” just as Simon Morden has “WWBD” to concentrate on and E.J. Swift has “Saga’s Children,” concerning an enigma called Saga. Science fact and fiction have mixed for some time, and as Dr Marek Kukula points out there is a Martian crater called Asimov, an asteroid called 25924 Douglasadams, 18610 Arthurdent, and the icy plains of Saturn’s giant moon, Titan are named after planets from Frank Herbert’s Dune novels.

Science has become more popular to people who would not normally be interested in it, and that is partially due to science fiction series and novels. It is interesting to see how informative these stories are when they are about the planets in the solar system and use the latest cutting edge science to give a real look at what the future may hold for humanity. Legend, myth and possibility hold the truth of what might happen and the illustrations from the historical collections of Royal Museums Greenwich give the stories a genuine feel of the unusual and intriguing.

The Lowest Heaven, edited by Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin
Published by Jurassic London, 2013
Review by Sandra Scholes

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