“Long Eyes and Other Stories” by Jeff Carlson (Kindle Edition, 2011)

Long Eyes and Other Stories
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Jeff Carlson, bestselling author of the Plague Year trilogy, returns with another cheaply priced and great collection of three original and captivating science fiction stories, showing the true breadth and ability of this great writer.

The first story, “Long Eyes,” is a great example of Carlson at his best, presenting a most unique character in Clara who is a humanoid suspended in cradle of gel and splice-wire in a symbiotic relationship with the spaceship that she controls, feeling everything it feels.  After traveling across the stars for six hundred years she discovers a planet with some very strange creatures that look to be distant descendants of humans who have evolved into primordial, gremlin-like beings.

In “Pressure” Carlson messes around with the human genome, presenting a character that has been genetically modified to live and exist beneath the waves for research to study the oceans, mapping the sea floors and going further than science has ever gone before, as well as looking to develop new forms of energy production.  In return Carlos is given a large sum of money to support his wife and children, but the research project will take two years and his wife isn’t sure his children will even recognize him when he’s done.   But as Carlos begins his journey beneath the waves, he soon discovers that with the many wonders there are also just as many dangers.

The last story in the collection, “Planet of the Sealies,” is set in the distant future and the world we know is a very changed place.  There are now families of clones living close to the pole, with some groups traveling the globe in search of resources.  Carlson has fun as these explorers find relics of the past that have survived in a form that means little to these people, but is all too familiar to readers.  It is a harsh tough world where these new people have to stick together to survive.

In Long Eyes and Other Stories, Jeff Carlson pushes the horizon of the imagination further, playing around with the concept of the human being and changing it into something it couldn’t or perhaps shouldn’t be and then reveals the possible repercussions of these changes.  For such a great deal, this collection packs a lot of adventure and entertainment; the ultimate bang for your buck!

Originally written on May 5, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.