Jack Dann &
Gardner Dozois, editors,
Future Crimes
(Ace, 2003)

It is a sad fact that short-story writing appears to be on the decline in general literature. Thankfully, one genre that still encourages the skill is science fiction, and Future Crimes is a joy to discover and a pleasure to read. Here in eight stories we are amazed, amused and scared about how crime could develop as the century unfolds.

The interesting thing is that in the heyday of SF stories, the computer was a figment of the writer's imagination. Now it is not only an everyday tool -- almost unnoticed -- but also an instrument of crime.

One story here dates back to 1953 but even a half-century later it reads bright and plausible. "Time Bum" by C.M. Kornbluth is only about 10 pages long but it will fascinate you.

Reviewing these stories is a problem. If I reveal too much of the content it will spoil the story. If I say too little you may pass up a chance to enjoy some classic tales. One thing I will say is that I was surprised by the end of this time-travel tale. (Or is it one?)

"A Scraping of Bones" is a longer tale. This time it appears like a classic detective tale but beware of appearances in science fiction.

Each tale will hold your attention to the end whether 10 pages or 50. If you like good writing, speculation and imagination try this for size.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 28 February 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.