Solaris Rising Reviews

Here’s all the reviews of Solaris Rising: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction that are accessible online (as of December 18th 2011). If you discover any I’ve missed, please let me know in the comments section. I have included a straight list of links to the reviews on this page.

First up is a review from the Best SF site. Mark Watson had the following to say of my story, Yestermorrow.

A neat murder mystery against a temporal confusion backdrop, that would work well as a one-off TV drama or [movie] (tout those rights!). Something very, very strange has happened – humans aren’t living their lives on the usual ordered day after day model, but rather the days are happening in a random order for each individual. As if this isn’t bad enough, everyone knows the day that they will die, but just don’t know when that day will arrive.

There’s a murderer stalking the streets of Brighton, killing people moments before they were due to die, but having them die at his hand, rather than the forewarned event. A cop has to work out who is doing this, and how/why, at the same time as facing his imminent forecast demise.

Overall he describes the book as “An excellent collection” and goes on to place it on an equal footing with his favourite anthology of 2011.

Next is a review from the Fantasy Book Critic. Liviu Suciu names Adam Roberts’s Shall I Tell You The Problem With Time Travel? as the best of the collection, and then goes on to name the stories in his second tier of favourites. I’m happy to report that Yestermorrow is in this group, along with Rock Day by Stephen Baxter, Eluna by Stephen Palmer, and Sweet Spots by Paul di Filippo. These stories, he says, and

…a vigorous tale of time travel/near future end of the world (sort of!) by new author for me Richard Salter were all stories that are recommended and add to the reasons Solaris Rising was a big success for me.

While he didn’t like all the stories, he did say of the whole collection:

Overall Solaris Rising (A+, highly recommended) is a very strong eclectic anthology with something to please any lover of contemporary sf.

Then there’s Lois Tilton of Locus Online. She says,

“Overall, with only a few exceptions, it’s a strong showcase of the genre.”

Despite what she has to say about my story, she assures me that I’m not one of the exceptions, which was exceedingly nice of her to take the time to clarify for the benefit of my fragile ego.

This is reductio ad absurdum. It’s a society with no faith in the determined course of events, no confidence that things will work out as they should, without constant intervention. Everyone is so determined to fulfill the sequence of events laid down in the pamphlet they all carry that it’s illegal for a person to try to save his life, and the cops push the suicides off the ledge if they don’t take the jump on their own.

Moving on…

This review is written by A Fantastical Librarian, and is extremely positive. Of the collection as a whole she says,

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you’re of a mind to dip your toes into Science Fiction, then this is a perfect starting point. At the same time, I think this is also a rewarding read for SF aficionados, if only to be treated to stories by some of their favourites.

…and then adds…

Solaris Rising is one anthology anyone with an interest in SF shouldn’t miss!

I’m delighted to say that she ranked my story as one of her top six in the anthology, which is lovely of her to say.

Another well-thought out conceit was the one central to Richard Salter’s Yestermorrow, in which each person gets a number of allotted days to live but these days aren’t consequential, they jump around in their lives. At first was a little confusing to wrap my head around, but once I got used to the concept, I thought the story was amazing. It was so cleverly done and I loved the interplay between the main character’s job – he’s a detective solving a case – and what we get to see of his private life, the problems this day-jumping causes in his marriage.

Very happy with that.

Next up is a review on Geek Chocolate by Michael Flett. This one was a little frustrating because Yestermorrow wasn’t mentioned, which is fine, but my name wasn’t even included in the “also contains” sentence at the end. I thought my story might have been so dull as to leave no impression whatsoever! Well thankfully, when I pointed out the omission, Michael was good enough to add my name at the end. I still don’t know what he thought of my story but at least I know it was an honest mistake and not a subtle way of telling me to give up writing forever :) Insecure? Moi? Noooooo…

Of the whole collection, there’s no overall verdict, but in general it seems Michael found much to enjoy.

There are three reviews on Amazon. One is a rerun of the Fantastical Library review. The other two are brief but continue the positive trend.

Rebecca/Liz says,

The stories are all so gripping, so beautifully crafted… Short story anthologies were how I got into the genre, and this collection really reminds me why.

J. George overall recommends the collection,

Whether you are a newbie to SF, or a hardened consumer, I’d like to recommend this anthology of shorts to you.

But found some stories flawed. The less successful stories aren’t named, which of course sparks an onslaught of paranoia in this contributor. Is my story the impenetrable one, or perhaps mine was the tale that had,

…zero characterisation within dialogue…

We may never know.

More paranoia is generated by this review from Fantasy Book Review. Pippa Jay says that some of the stories…

…left me confused and a couple left me feeling that much had gone unsaid that should have been told.

Was Yestermorrow one of them? Of the collection as a whole, she has this to say:

In some ways, this anthology left me a little disappointed overall, perhaps because I didn’t feel all the stories were ‘complete’ or left too much unanswered. However, I’d still recommend this to my SF reading friends, especially those who are maybe looking for that first appetizer in the genre.

A more positive review is next. Theresa Derwin titles her Terror-Tree review of Solaris Rising as “The Rise of Superior SF“. She says,

In short, there are the odd couple of stories that fall flat, but on the whole this is a must buy anthology for SF fans, with some great stories.

Of Yestermorrow, she makes a statement that leaves me reeling…

Richard Salter’s ‘Yestermorrow’ is a mind boggling wibbly wobbly timey wimey story that stands [out] highest of all.


Solaris Rising has been reviewed in SFX and BBC Focus magazine, but I’ve yet to see the print versions to find out what they thought. Still, there are a couple of quotes on Amazon.

‘The literary equivalent of a well-presented buffet of tasty snacks, this latest science fiction anthology from Solaris serves up an intriguing mix of 19 short tales from some of the best SF writers at work today. Helmed by BFSA chairman Ian Whates, it’s a selection that doesn’t set out to be a definitive genre portrait, instead trying to capture a sense of SF’s wild variety and experimentation… the overall standard is impressive [and] the highlights include Adam Roberts’s sublimely brilliant ”Shall I Tell You The Problem With Time Travel?”, a story so good it alone is worth the cover price.’ (4 stars) –SFX Magazine

‘this anthology of new short stories is essential reading.’ –BBC Focus magazine

‘One of the three or four best SF anthologies published this year… there’s almost nothing here that isn’t at least good, and some that’s outstanding.’ — Gardner Dozois in Locus

On the SFF Chronicles site, Ian Sales has this to say about Yestermorrow:

Richard Salter’s time-slip serial killer in Brighton is effective, although as a mystery it’s not entirely satisfactory – but then the sf/crime story is an odd mix that rarely gels. After all, sf needs things to be explained, but crime prefers to hide things in order to delay the resolution of the central mystery.

I respectfully disagree, but then I would :) There’s no doubt that the story didn’t work for Ian, and that’s fine. Luckily, despite some ups and downs, he did enjoy the collection as a whole.

There are those who think the short story is dying out, but the current plethora of genre anthologies and magazines put the lie to that. However, most of those anthologies are published by small presses, which means ones such as Solaris Rising are important in getting the word about short fiction’s health out there. Solaris Rising is a strong debut to what I hope will become a series.

Another review comes from Simon Maynard on Goodreads. While he doesn’t single out Yestermorrow as one of the best or one of the stories he didn’t like, he is overall fairly positive about the collection.

Overall, while I breezed through the collection and got at least some enjoyment out of most of the stories, I felt there were a few weaknesses that prevent me rating this higher than three stars. However, I imagine that it’s largely a matter of taste. I certainly wouldn’t want to put anyone off reading this.

Morpheus Tales is a magazine collecting horror stories on a regular basis. Accompanying the main fiction edition is a supplement, containing reviews, interviews and other extras. In Morpheus Tales #15 Supplement, Solaris Rising is given a brief review. Not much about the individual stories, but overall,

…it goes for quality rather than quantity and does an astoundingly good job.

Disaster Couch, which is a great name for any site, says the following,

Some of the stories I really loved in the book were […] “Yestermorrow” by Richard Salter, in which a slip in space time causes all people to experience their lives out of order — and a whole new bureaucratic apparatus arises to make sure things still happen in the right order…

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus splits the anthology into the good and the indifferent, with most stories falling into the former category. Thankfully, Yestermorrow is one of them.

On the other hand, “Yestermorrow” by Richard Salter is concerned with time rather than objects; specifically, what it would be like to always wake up not knowing which part of your life today is, because you are living quite literally from day to day – one day waking up as a baby, the next at forty, but you don’t take that knowledge with you. Which of course means you know when, calendrically speaking, you will die. Certainly presents some interesting problems for the police.

An old primary schoolfriend of mine, Tim Green, found me on Facebook and picked up a copy of Solaris Rising. Then he posted a review to Goodreads! of Yestermorrow he says,

Of course I jumped straight to Richard’s story “Yestermorrow” first and read his deliciously bittersweet story about living in a time fractured near future where each day experienced is in a random order and different from person to person. I feel a strong influence of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Timequake”, but done right!

Thanks Tim! Any mention of my biggest literary hero is a real joy to hear. Tim gave the whole collection 4 stars out of 5.

I’ve saved the best till last. This one is from SF Crowsnest and made for a really nice way to close out 2011. Patrick Mahon writes,

My favourite story in the anthology was Richard Salter’s time-travel tale, ‘Yestermorrow’ . … I enjoyed this story immensely. Salter takes an interesting idea and executes it with style, providing a strong lead character, genuine conflict, lots of depth and a great ending.

Just about made my year! Of the complete collection, he says,

‘Solaris Rising’ is chock-full of enjoyable and interesting new SF stories. I found them to be diverse, entertaining and, for those who don’t already know the authors, a great introduction to their work. Ian Whates has crafted a strong anthology which, for me, is a more than worthy successor to Solaris’ earlier series. The publishers are to be congratulated on resurrecting the idea of anthologies of new short SF stories. I hope ‘Solaris Rising’ is the first of many.

Doesn’t get much more glowing than that folks.

So the response has been really positive, which is fantastic to hear. I’m so proud to be a part of this fabulous collection.

<— Return to Solaris Rising

2 thoughts on “Solaris Rising Reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *