Ayerdhal (ed.)
Genèses ("Geneses") (A) (1996)
Reviewed: 1998-01-03

I don't like anthologies. In fact, I don't like short fiction very much in general. Neither do short pieces stick in my memory, nor do I enjoy haphazardly thrown together compilations. Genèses has an interesting premise in that it is an anthology of francophone SF. As Ayerdhal explains in his preface, this collection is international by authors and topics, but the stories happen to have been written in French. I concur with this assessment. There is little to distinguish these stories from anglophone SF in general. A common theme of creation and genesis was second to the selection. Unfortunately, it is difficult to discuss the individual short pieces in detail without spoiling them.

Francis Carsac, "Genèse": A one page-story about the origin of life on a certain planet. A proposal even more humble than that offered in Larry Niven's The World of Ptavvs.

Élisabeth Vonarburg, "Le début du cercle": An aging collector of artists rather than their art pursues his latest conquest and earns an unexpected taste of immortality.

Jean-Marc Ligny, "Labyrinthe de la nuit": A man haunted by the sirenlike songs and poetry of a former extraterrestrial weapon breaks with his past and descends on Mars to finally confront his idol.

Jean-Claude Dunyach, "Le jugement des oiseaux": In a time where murder is punished with irreversible personality erasure, a man creates a group of assassins able to kill again and again, and eventually loses control of this flock of birds.

Pierre Bordage, "Une paix éternelle": After twenty centuries of war against the alien Kriziss, humanity has finally been given a weapon to win finally victory. A war hero is selected to execute the final strike, for which he has to transform himself into a member of the enemy race.

Serge Lehman, "Nulle part à Liverion": In a future where big corporations prepare to take over government from the powerless authorities, a historian finds a city of utopia, hidden for more than 200 years, a haven outside the brave new world to come.

Bernard Werber, "Chaque jour est un nouveau combat": A bizarre and funny story of a valiant knight fighting against the forces of darkness.

Jean-Louis Trudel, "Lamente-toi, sagesse!": A young musician has her hands surgically cut off to allow for the provision of a neural interface with sufficient bandwidth for her performances. Suffering from an unavoidable, increasingly debilitating side effect, she associates with a similarly yet differently dedicated lover for a final show.

Richard Canal, "Les heureux damnés": Disguised as an expert on the local sophonts, a detective travels to a backwater planet to unravel a difficult identity problem. Along the way he discovers that the recalcitrant natives hold the key to the resolution of the case.

Ayerdhal, "Reprendre, c'est voler": In the 31st century, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is returned to life, with interesting although rather predictable consequences in public life. For an altogether different angle, he is also haunted by the ghost of his reanimator.

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