This second volume of Nicola Griffith and Stephen Pagel's Bending the Landscape anthology series focuses on science fiction stories (the first book covered fantasy, and the third will cover horror). The editors asked contributors to "imagine a different landscape... some milieu that had not happened" and then address the theme of Alien or Other, with the Other being a lesbian or gay man. Since the writers include men and women, gay and straight, the results are fascinating and kaleidoscopic.
One of the best stories in this stellar bunch is Ellen Klages's "Time Gypsy," a "lesbian time-travel-romance-revenge story" about a scientist who discovers love in an unlikely way. L. Timmel Duchamp's "Dance at the Edge" is a heartbreaking story of visibility and strength, and Richard A. Bamberg looks at what it might be like to be the last gay person on Earth in "Love's Last Farewell."
Big name authors like Charles Sheffield, Nancy Kress, Stephen Baxter, and Elizabeth Vonarburg contribute stories as well. The science fiction volume, like all the Bending the Landscape anthologies, addresses universal themes of otherness, love, and loss. Great reading for the 21st century. --Adam Fisher