The Ascent Of Links
So, with ‘Beep’ we reach the end of Part One of The Ascent Of Wonder. Even this is not without controversy though, because what does Part One mean and why does it exist? The book has an appendix by Kathryn Cramer which says:
In one phase of this book’s gestation, it was to be divided into sections according to the manner in which science was used in the story. This appendix gives an alternate order from the table of contents in which to enjoy the stories.
Crucially and bafflingly, the question of the actual order is left unmentioned. The stories aren’t in chronological order or even alphabetical order, they don’t appear to be grouped by theme or, indeed, anything else. What makes Part One different from Part Two? Perhaps all will become clear but at the moment I have no clue which is surely a major failing on the part of the editors. Answers on the back of a postcard please.
Cramer has also helpfully put together An Interactive Introduction to The Ascent Of Wonder which include all the introductions, except Gregory Benford’s. The chief benefit of this is that I can cut and paste the weird remarks from their (his?) story introductions rather than type them out. The anthology also has its own wikipedia page which I started to tidy up a bit but then couldn’t be bothered to continue.
Returning to that earlier post, having read a third of the stories and a third of the story introductions I am no clearer on what Hartwell and Cramer mean by hard SF. Their inclusions are every bit as eclectic as the initial introductions promised. Speaking of which, Paul Kincaid’s review is also available online, although sadly Gary Wolfe’s is not.
One final link: in the course of searching for additional supporting information I was reminded of the fact Cramer wrote the chapter on hard SF for The Cambridge Companion To Science Fiction so – once I’ve slogged through the remaining two thirds of this anthology – I might give my thoughts on that as well.