The Long Fall Up
: And Other Stories
by William Ledbetter
You must sign in to see if this title is available for request. Sign In or Register Now
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add email@example.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 06 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2024
From bestselling Nebula-Award winning William Ledbetter comes a groundbreaking collection of science fiction short stories that will bend your heart like a black hole. From AI to robot medics to life on Mars, Ledbetter takes real tech, blends it with hard science fact, and invents futures full of fantastic fiction. Includes 17 previously published stories and one original story.
"William Ledbetter’s stories exists at the crossroads between hard and soft: they’re full of hard space, hard choices, and hard lives, but also the soft hearts of the people who work there, make them, and live them. Bill can do more in two pages than some authors do in twenty; he’ll make you love a sweater, fear for a ship, and more. So whatever your preference, hard or soft: if Bill Ledbetter has written a story, you want to read it. Simple as that." —Trevor Quachri, Editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine
“In one thousand words, William Ledbetter managed to completely captivate me with his story, ‘What I Am.’ Science fiction tales of this length rarely work for me. It’s so hard to compress solid science, plotting, and characterization into so few words. In this case, however, I was completely captivated by Oscar and his companion. The science fiction element was perfect. At the same time, Bill created a compelling situation and made me desperately care about his characters. These essential qualities are to be found in his longer works as well.” —Sheila Williams, Editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction
Average rating from 17 members
This was such a good collection of short stories, each story worked overall and I enjoyed that they were all new to me. William Ledbetter has a great style for this type of book.
I really loved this collection. It would be hard to pick out a favorite, although I think Last House, Lost House, Hungry is the Earth, How to Fix Discarded Things, and In a Wide Sky, Hidden were my standouts. Still, I don't think there's a bad story in the bunch.
I particularly like how the author is able to combine his expertise of the aerospace industry into his stories, with so much heart and also so much authenticity. These don't read like many hard SF stories. Sure, they have exploration and otherwordly planets, but they feel very real and get you invested in the characters' lives and experiences.
Science fiction short stories often struggle to balance their scientific explanations with creating compelling characters. No such problems here. In a widely varied selection of tales, Ledbetter covers diverse topics including bodily autonomy, the ethics of overpopulation, piracy and cybernetic enhancement, while maintaining enough humanity in the characters to catch and keep the reader's attention. While, like many anthologies, it has highlights and lowlights, even the weaker chapters are well written and entertaining, and the rest are absolutely fantastic. Very much look forward to seeing what this brilliant writer comes up with next.
These 17 stories cover a wide spectrum of ideas. There is a lot of science, some very creative fiction and memorable characters contained within. There is even a story about a giant armadillo that doesn’t quite fit with the rest; it’s still good fun.
I was not familiar with this author. As soon as this one is published, I’ll add him to my list of followed writers and be sure to keep an eye on what comes next.
I got an ARC of this book.
I wasn’t sure about this book at first. The first story starts up with a man chasing a pregnant woman to punish her. He is so full of hatred. It was very hard to read that one, but as it went on I was hooked. There was not a single story that didn’t make me want to keep reading.
Normally I am not the biggest fan of short story anthologies. They feel so hit or miss. This one was mostly a lot of YES OMG and that was pretty interesting. There were people who traded their bodies to be pretty forever (the ending of that one oof, that hurt), people who judge others and then fall directly into their shoes, and so many interesting things. So many of the stories were intensely emotional. This is the type of sci-fi I love. The type that until the last few years, I didn’t know existed. The sentient sweater was both heart breaking and heart warming at the same time. Having to change so intensely for someone to see the value in you, but you doing whatever you can to support them. It was wow.
I can’t even begin to pick a favorite story. Every time I thought I found the best story, I would just read the next. Then I would cycle around. Was the sentient sweater the best? Was the raiders on the farm? What about the armadillo? Clearly those are not the titles of the stories, but once you read them, you will know exactly the story and why I liked it so much.
I will be reading more Ledbetter as soon as I can track down his other works.
A very interesting collection of sf short stories that had appeared in various venues (magazines and anthologies) in the last decade. They are now gathered to form a collection of great variety. Hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, even funny stories. The first one of the collection (its theme is on the cover) is really strong and worths its place as opening story. A lot of the stories take place on other planets or in deep space, but some of them go as far as the confines of a small town. It was not the first book of the author I read, so I was already prepared to enjoy the experience. I was not disappointed.
Its been a long time since I’ve read such a good short stories anthology, I mean, usually I only have a couple of stories I really like and some OK stories and a few I really don’t really care about, in here I did enjoy most of the stories, and even in the ones I didn’t really care about, felt like a satisfying bite, I am grateful that the stories fell so complete, actually the style reminded me of Ray Bradbury short stories.
I wont comment the different stories, because if you want a list of what stories are here, you will probably find it easily enough and I don’t want to spoil the stories but I believe most of these will find way into your heart like it did into mine, I really recommend this book, you get a feel for how William Ledbetter writes, and to tell you the truth I already read his book “Level 5” and I really enjoyed that experience, hey it was a 5 stars experience for me, and this one also hit the right spot, don’t be afraid to experience this book of short stories, maybe like me you will find a new author to follow.
Thank you NetGalley and Interstellar Flight Press, for the free ARC and this is my honest opinion.
An excellent collection of short stories, all of them at high level. William Ledbetter is an excellent storyteller
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Thank you so much to the publisher sending me a hardcopy of this book to read as an ARC. I was not familiar with William Ledbetter before reading this book, but I will absolutely seek out more of him in the future.
This one is a little difficult for me to rate, because like any anthology, it has wonderful entries and then some that I wasn't a huge fan of. Ledbetter has a pretty wide range of style, from the humorous and weird (giant irradiated armadillos appear in this anthology) to hard scifi to one of the more gutwrenching post-apocalyptic short stories I've read, with all sorts of other goodies in between.
Occasionally I did note some dubious accuracy in a couple scientific premises, and that's NOT my field, so if you're going to get picky about the hard scifi details, be forewarned. There are a few stories in here that absolutely shine, though, some real 5-star pieces. So, while I would not argue that every story in here is a hit, there are a few that are now right up there with my favorite scifi stories. Last House, Lost House got me good, and How To Fix Discarded Things is SUCH an interesting take on the social issues that arise in one version of solarpunk-adjacent utopia. The first story have me a bit of a squirm with some language that I would argue is pretty ableist, only for the second story to feature an awesome character facing mobility issues in low-g.
So again, not a perfect story, but I loved the range, the thought that went into each piece, and the fact that if I started skimming a story that I didn't love, there was a high probability that the next one would be very different. I would have given it a 4-star overall average if it weren't for those standout stories. :) Absolutely recommend if you love short scifi. I like this writer's brain.
One little note that did not impact my rating, but WOULD impact my purchasing... I received this book as a paperback from the publisher, and the text was so small that I really struggled to read it. I ended up requesting an ebook copy as well, which is how I read most of the book.
Super compelling, hard sci-fi short story collection that deserves all the hype.
Every. Single. Story. Slaps.
Read this if you love The Expanse
Read this if you love Station Eleven
Read this if you love hard sci-fi, soft world building and flawed but ultimately relatable characters
This short story collection opens with the titular, Nebula Award winning short story, 'The Long Fall Up'. It's clear why this short story won the Nebula award, as it immediately drops you in a spaceship, chasing another ship on behalf of a planetary superpower. Although the story is set far in the future, it feels extremely relevant as it questions reproductive autonomy, and the validity of laws meant to protect. As a mother, this story hit hard.
All of these stories are really different and yet every single one plays out like a high-quality HBO series. We have space travel, we have dystopian worlds, we have space cowboys, we have aliens and so much more. Sometimes these stories are wrapped up with satisfying endings, and sometimes we're left wondering what happened next. I love the variation here.
One of my favourite stories in the collection is called, "Last House, Lost House" about one of the last people on Earth in the midst of a cataclysmic weather event. She has been alone, scavenging for so long that she's wondering if she can even continue anymore. The questions around what makes life worth living are powerfully investigated.
Another favourite is, "How to Fix Discarded Things". In this world, everyone has a printer than can print them anything from clothes to dishes to toys, and it meant to be a universal equalizer ensuring everyone has food, housing and access to essentials like clothes. However, the printer usage is highly regulated, the people without power and money are still subjugated, and where does the value of handmade items go?
This book is best read in a bar on a satellite orbiting a planet far from Earth. Don’t let yourself get distracted by the people telling stories of retrieving ancient space junk, or the last dystopian months of what used to be called Earth.