Mind Seed Edited by David Gullen and Gary Couzens
The T Party is a London based writers group that have put together this SF anthology in memory of one their members, Denni Schnapp, who took her own life in 2013. Proceeds from the book go to Next Generation Nepal, an anti-child trafficking charity supported by Denni. The introduction tells us that Denni wrote about How would technological developments affect us as humans, both individually and socially … Her stories were of travel and journey, interaction and transformation, of strong characters and their weaknesses. and the stories are from those that knew Denni and her storiesThey cover the themes that Denni tackled in her own work: exploration, interaction, the nature of intelligence, and communication with the unknown.There are nine solid tales in the book, including the title story Mind Seed an interesting speculation on rejuvenation and being on and off the grid.
The collection starts with Sex and the single hive mind by Helen Callaghan which is the best SF short story I’ve read for a long while, one that got my synapses buzzing from its inventiveness, tone and prose, highly recommended and a writer I’m looking forward to reading more from. It’s a story about all the themes promised in the intro, about a drug called Seething Green and of a cop on the drug squad. Other stand out stories are by Ian Whates with a creepy little tale of alien contact in Darkchild and Rockhopper by Martin Owton & Gary Couzens about a miner who discovers a derelict, which does that difficult thing in a short story of building an entire, plausible universe within the confines of the story. Nina Allen’s BSFA shortlisted Bird songs at eventide on top of her story in the previously reviewed Solaris Rising 3 also places her in my “writers to watch” category.
But suffice to say there are no duff stories in the collection although of course I liked some more than others.
Overall – A fine collection of SF shorts. Recommended.