In the days before the internet, when sci-fi fans only dreamed of a vast social network with which to interact, commune, and bicker, one of the most delicious ways to satisfy your science fiction fix was to pick up one of the many hearty, science fiction anthologies available at your local bookstore or library. Many legendary writers have taken part in such collections, and this form of storytelling has also touched several successful franchises, including a good chunk of classic Star Wars Extended Universe anthologies. Well, Villipede Productions is now seeking their place in the stars of the anthology universe with their new and thrilling science fiction anthology, The Glass Parachute!
If there’s one thing I want to make sure to communicate about The Glass Parachute, it has to be how truly and genuinely it feels like the classic, hard-core science fiction literature! Reading this collection gave me some serious flashbacks to the joys of being a young, teenage geek whose greatest pleasure was curling up with a science fiction anthology on a lazy Sunday afternoon and completely disappearing into another world, if not several! Even before I got to the stories inside The Glass Parachute, the dedication at the beginning of the book to masters of the medium, Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles) and Harry Harrison (Make Room! Make Room!, Stainless Steel Rat), made it clear that this was a group of authors and writers who respected and cherished the classics. The stories included in The Glass Parachute definitely deliver on these levels, as well. Whether focusing on the advances or tragedies that accompany new technologies, exploring the subject of manipulating genetic material or tapping into the power of cloning, or suggesting potential (and horrific) solutions to the problem of overcrowding, the authors assembled for this project bring a true and intense love for the genre and some serious writing chops. You won’t be disappointed with the adventures they’re offering.
There are also several artists who have contributed to the anthology, offering their interpretations of select events or scenes from the eleven stories included. While there was nothing poor in quality in regards to the art in the book, I do feel this exciting addition to The Glass Parachute came off as slightly underwhelming. I think this occurred for two reasons:
1. As I mentioned, the writing and stories in The Glass Parachute are top notch geek brain candy, inspiring vivid and breathtaking visuals inside the reader’s head, and it is almost unfair to force an artistic interpretation to pit itself against a sci-fi fan’s imagination. No matter how good the art, good literature will always inspire scenes within the reader’s head that can never be entirely matched by another’s artistic interpretation.
2. The chosen images seem to have a somewhat random order within the book, never seizing the benefit that the anthology’s structure provides. While the art is good enough for readers to enjoy, it may have been even more powerful if the art had taken form within the final anthology as something like a featured, and intriguing, image with the title of every story. With something like this, instead of the artwork functioning as the occasional illustration, the artwork would actually have become an important and expected part of reading the anthology and could have even served to help hook the reader into reading the story it corresponded with.
Either way, the art contributions are decent, and the stories make The Glass Parachute well worth the read. The artwork, in no way, detracts from the smartness and enjoyability of the book, and those who devoured the works of Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, or Ray Bradbury are sure to be eager to book a flight on this rocket ship!
You can find out more about The Glass Parachute at the official website.