Saturday, November 07, 2009

All Gunn, All the Time

Ben Bova; The Sam Gunn Omnibus (Tor Books; 2007; ISBN 978-0-7654-1620-2; cover by Vincent Di Fate).

Previously read in 2004 (in part) with the separate editions, I picked up this omnibus (it only took me two years to get to it!) when I saw there was new material added to the sequence.

Sam Gunn is one of Bova's three main creations dealing with our "near future". The other two are his Kinsman tales and his stories from the loose Grand Tour sequence. Both those are fairly serious in nature (especially the Kinsman stories); with Sam Gunn, Bova gets to look at the more humorous side of space travel.

This omnibus is a cross between a collection and fix-up. There are a number of bridging sequences where Our Intrepid Reporter, Jade, tries to find out about the legendary Sam Gunn. Between the bridges are the longer Sam Gunn "set pieces" (previously published in Omni, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog and other magazines). Sam sees an angle, runs a con, tries to get in at the bleeding edge. He steps on toes, makes enemies, gets fired, loses a fortune. Along the way he helps to open up the frontier, and more importantly, makes a large number of lasting friends. Fun stories, even on a re-read.

Made up of: Preface; Selene City; The Sea of Clouds; The Supervisor's Tale; The Hospital and the Bar; The Long Fall; The Pelican Bar; The Audition; Diamond Sam; Decisions, Decisions; Statement of Clark Griffith IV; Tourist Sam; The Show Must Go On!; Space Station Alpha; Isolation Area; Lagrange Habitat Jefferson; Vacuum Cleaner; Selene City; Armstrong Spaceport; Nursery Sam; Selene City; Statement of Juanita Carlotta Maria y Queveda; Sam's War; Habitat New Chicago; Grandfather Sam; Solar News Offices, Selene City; Bridge Ship "Golden Gate"; Two Years Before the Mast; Bridge Ship "Golden Gate"; Asteroid Ceres; Space University; A Can of Worms; Titan; Einstein; Surprise, Surprise; Reviews; Torch Ship "Hermes"; Acts of God; Torch Ship "Hermes"; Steven Achernar Wright; The Prudent Jurist; Pierre D'Argent; Piker's Peek; Zoilo Hashimoto; The Mark of Zorro; The Maitre D'; The Flying Dutchman; Disappearing Act; Takes Two to Tangle; Solar News Headquarters, Selene; Orchestra(ted) Sam.

Counts as 19 entries in the 2009 Year in Shorts.

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