Cover Image: My Favorites

My Favorites

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Member Reviews

A solid collection from an excellent writer; A good variety and shows his range and his creativity. This is a safe bet for scifi and anthology fans. Good stuff.

Thanks very much for the ARC for review!!
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This collection of short stories, selected by the author as his personal favorites, features several standout stories, including the Nebula-nominated Inspiration, as well as Muzhestvo, a prequel short to his Mars series and Sam and the Flying Dutchman, a story in his well-loved SF/caper series featuring the intergalactic conman Sam Gunn. Several play with themes of alternate history, both in the fictional post-World War II Casablanca followup, We’ll Always Have Paris, and in his story about a well-meaning but ultimately futile attempt to avoid the horrors of that war and what came after, in The Cafe Coup. Three humorous stories, The Great Moon Hoax, Scheherazde and the Storytellers, and The Supersonic Zeppelin, poke good-natured fun at (respectively) alien invasions, the origins of SF/F, and government aerospace contracts while both maintaining and lampooning, the genre from which they sprang. 

VERDICT: This collection has something for all SF readers. However, as good as these stories are, this is not an essential collection. All of these stories have been published previously, nearly all in The Best of Bova. However, Bova is one of the grandmasters of the field, and this collection reflects the breadth of his writing. Recommended for readers looking for an introduction to this author, and for libraries that do not have the more complete collection.
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Short stories are not a favorite read of mine as they generally deal with one-dimensional characters. However, Ben Bova is a master of the short story. While the stories in this anthology were written early in his career, Bova added an accomplished writer’s editorial polish to them before including the stories in this book. I found them to be extremely well written and a joy to read. 

Often, Lessor authors end short stories with cliff hangers intended to make you ponder and say ‘Wow’. But such stories leave me with a mystery or a puzzle that can’t be gladly resolved and leave me troubled. Life is already troubling and having more of it in my daily life is not what I want from my reading. I read science fiction to escape.

My favored short stories are those like the ones in Bova’s new book, My Favorites: An Anthology, as they entertain and are a perfect length for morning train commutes or doctor's office waits. Bova’s writings leave me feeling content at the story's conclusion.

My Favorites: An Anthology is a book of short science fiction stories that are a joy to read, provide an escape from daily stress, and are the perfect length for the frustrating waiting times in our daily lives.
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My Favorites is a self-curated selection of stories from his illustrious career. 
Personally, I love short stories in general. Immoral fiction that manages to fit a whole novel's worth of story building into (at most) a few dozen pages impresses me. Bova does exactly this with his stories. About a third of these are based around the vision of the future he created in his Asteroid Wars novels. Since he selected these himself, you can talk that he enjoys when his stories have humor along with a message. 
While there are a few of these that I could take or leave, the ones that are good truly excel. My favorites are "Monster Slayer", "Sepulcher", and "Scheherazade and the Storytellers". 
Monster Slayer is a story of falling and redemption set against a backdrop of the destruction of a way of life and the search for a future. I feel like this story was a science fiction look at how the strength inside one person can save a people. 
Scheherazade and the Storytellers is a slightly tongue-in-cheek retelling of the legend of Scheherazade. It gives a possible explanation for how she could have come up with all her 1001 tales. Incidentally, it also shows the importance of collective bargaining. 
My favorite though was Sepulcher. I am a logically minded person who has very specific ideas about art. Even so, the idea of a piece of alien art being a window into understanding the alien mind is fascinating and likely true. The reactions of the various characters in the story to the artwork discovered runs the gambit of human reaction to any great piece of art. A very well done story.
If you enjoy sci-fi or short stories, this collection will not only be worth picking up, it is one you will likely suggest to others. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read a pre-release copy of this book.
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My Favorites by Ben Bova- A collection of Ben Bova's short stories is always welcome, but when the writer gets to pick and choose what he wants to represent as his favorites, it's pretty sure to please. Some of these outings stray from outright science fiction, like an imagined meeting with Rick from "Casablanca" after the war(We'll Always Have Paris), or Howard Hughes trying to convince President Kennedy not to push for a Moon landing because it might upset the Martians(The Great Moon Hoax), but there are others that conform to rigors of hard SF. Most of the stories have a feel-good vibe about them and are pleasant diversions from the relentless tension in today's space opera. They're enjoyable and go down easy. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
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A collection of fourteen short stories, selected by the author, with a new introduction for each story.

There are stories on working in zero G, time travel, alternative history, bits of suspense, quite a lot of humour, and even some sci-fi-noir.

I particularly enjoyed the first story (Monster Slayer), which has a kind of "builders in space" grittiness. Not every story is that strong, with one being a tongue-in-cheek parody of a One Thousand And One Nights story, where all the storytellers are versions of Nova's sci-fi author friends. It's one of those things that is probably great fun for the author and said friends, but I found it rather tiresome.

The introductions never spoil the story that follows, and are a bit slight, not sure they add that much, but they are charming.

3.5 stars
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Ben Bova has a long history of writing novels, most renown for his Grand Tour series leading around the moons and planets of the Solar system. But he has also a quite impressive list of short stories starting in the 1960s with the newest one published in 2014. As I've never read anything from this author, I welcomed this collection with 14 short stories and novelettes published between 1982 and 2014. Most of the stories are SF, with four of them set in his Grand Tour universe. But he also included time travel stories, fairy tales, and magical realism and one movie Tie-in from Casablanca. This leads to a pretty diverse collection. There was no really outstanding story in it for me, but most of them were amusing and entertaining with the exception of one time travel story "The Café Coup" which is an utterly disaster in my opinion.

This collection is not a must-have but I can certainly recommend it.

To appear October 13th 2020 by Blackstone Publishing.

Contents:

	• ★★★+☆☆ • Monster Slayer • 2003 • Grand Tour short story • A Native American as construction worker in Earth's orbit • review 
	• ★★★+☆☆ • Muzhestvo • 1992 • Grand Tour short story •  A Native American having fun with cosmonauts in Kazakhstan • review 
	• ★★★☆☆ • We'll always have Paris • 2014 • Main Stream Short story • review 
	• ★★★☆☆ • The Great Moon Hoax, or, a Princess of Mars • 1996 • Old Mars short story • review
	• ★★☆☆☆ • Inspiration • 1994 • Time Travel short story • review
	• ★★+☆☆☆ • Scheherazade and the Storytellers • 2010 • Fairy Tale short story • review
	• ★★★☆☆ • The Supersonic Zeppelin • 2005 • Near Future SF novelette • review
	• ★★★★☆ • Mars Farts • 2013 • Hard SF short story • review
	• ★★★☆☆ • The Man who hated Gravity • 1989 • Near Future SF short story • review
	• ★★★★☆ • Sepulcher • 1992 • SF novelette • review
	• ★☆☆☆☆ • The Café Coup • 1997 • Time Travel short story • review
	• ★★☆☆☆ • The Angel's Gift • 1984 • Magical realism short story • review
	• ★★★☆☆ • Waterbot • 2008 • Grand Tour novelette • review
	• ★★★☆☆ • Sam and the flying Dutchman • 2003 • Grand Tour novelette • review
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As a Ben Bova fan, this book does not disappoint.  I enjoyed reading Bova's short stories.  I've only read his novels in the past and was fun to read these stories.
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