cientific shenanigansMany of the characters in Geoffrey A. Landis' new short story collection, Impact Parameter and Other Quantum Realities, are scientists which isn't surprising, considering that the author works for NASA. Landis' expertise also means the science underpinning most of the stories is rigorously detailed and very much up to date. Stand-out stories include "Snow," a gritty tale that shows the value of a dollar and blank paper to a homeless woman; "The Singular Habits of Wasps," a rather dark reworking of Sherlock Holmes, in which information gleaned from a certain young Mr. Wells helps Holmes solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper; and Landis' first published story, the somewhat whimsical "Elemental," where magic has been formulated into a science and Italian grape growers might inadvertently cause a certain volcano to become active again. In perhaps the most hopeful, and least scientific story, "Beneath the Stars of Winter," a man newly imprisoned in Siberia is given the smallest reason to hope by a device fashioned from a pair of glasses, wax and a scientific theory unique to gulag researchers. There are a couple of short-short stories which don't add much, but otherwise, this is a strong collection that fans of the science fiction short story shouldn't miss. Landis can sketch characters quickly, explain the science concisely and still have more than enough room to explore fascinating ideas. This is the 16th collection of short stories published by Golden Gryphon Press, and while not all are up to the standard of Impact Parameter, this small publisher is definitely a boon to the reader of short genre fiction.
Gavin J. Grant recently married the girl of his dreams, science fiction author Kelly Link.