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Ten astounding tales by triple award nominee Brad R Torgersen Go on fantastic new adventures at the bottom of Earth's oceans and at the edge of the solar system Meet humans who are utterly alien and aliens who are all too human Originally featured in the pages of Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine as well as Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show these stories are gathered here for the first time along with anecdotes and other commentary from the author Introductions by Stanley Schmidt Mike Resnick and Allan Cole Features the stories Ray of Light 2012 Hugo Nebula nominee Outbound 2011 Analog Readers Choice Award winner and Exanastasis 2010 Writers of the Future Award winner

10 thoughts on “Lights in the Deep

  1. says:

    “What I think fiction ought to do than anything else Illuminate the way shine a spiritual beacon tell us that there is a bright point in the darkness a light to guide the way when all other paths are cast in shadow If our stories can’t do that for us what’s the point?”In his essay “On the Growth of Fantasy and the Waning of Science Fiction” author Brad R Torgersen notes that modern science fiction has become a nihilistic exercise in pessimism my words while fantasy has retained the buoyant optimism of the last century A notable except is the science fiction of Torgersen himselfThis anthology of the break out stories of a fresh new voice of hard science fiction is proof that great SF stories can—are still being written Normally I avoid anthologies Even those marketed as “The best of ” usually disappoint Lights in the Deep doesn’tuibbles? Someone should have proofread it one time A few minor typos pepper the textIf you’ve given up on modern SF try Torgersen An outstanding read

  2. says:

    I haven't read a single author short fiction collection in over 15 years It was Otherness by David Brin which I read in high school But I came across Brad Torgersen's blog in reading up about the 2014 Hugo award controversy and I was struck 1 by his writing and 2 by the fact that so many of the short stories in the collection were award winners Ray of Light was a 2012 Hugo Nebula nominee Outbound was a 2011 Analog Readers Choice Award winner and Exanastasis was a 2010 Writers of the Future Award winnerThe book didn't disappoint It was fantastic Torgersen writes with a confident clear and smooth prose style that is perfectly adapted to his brand of science fiction And by his brand of science fiction I mean the classical kind great stories often adventure in which the science is essential but not overbearing The exposition is always just enough to be interesting Whether it's an alternate history of the Cold War era space race or the details of running a community radio station they enrich rather than overshadow the characters and stories Torgersen's personal philosophy also comes through in the book in a way that I found incredibly refreshing The stories are interspersed with short first person accounts and here's a uote from the last of theseIf I'd first set out in 2009 to make my mark as the kind of writer who would defy the trend in the science fiction world to worship gloom and doom as some kind of literary sacrament then Ray of Light was my loudest rebel yell to date Because in my opinion life is depressing and hopeless enough without imbibing further depression and hopelessness through story I don't care how realistic people like to think that is It's not what inspires me or makes me love and cherish a book or a television show or a movie When I am imbibing fiction I want to be inspired I want bold tales told boldly I want genuine Good People who while not perfect are capable of rising beyond their ordinary beginnings To make a positive difference in the world Even when all hope or purpose might seem lost Because this is what I think fiction as originally told around the campfires through verbal legend ought to do than anything else Illuminate the wayshine a spiritual beacon tell us that there is a bright point in the darkness a light to guide the way when all other paths are cast in shadowDon't be tricked into thinking this is a throwback to the kind of incessant optimism of for example Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom stories Torgersen knows how to work with darkness Post apocalyptic settings were common in this series and so were hopeless and even senseless wars and betrayals and horrible losses The darkness is there but against that backdrop Torgersen chooses to emphasize light And I absolutely love finding an author who isn't afraid to do that and who can pull it off so wellAs a last note I actually really enjoyed all the personal notes between the stories that explained how they came about from writing to publishing As an aspiring author myself it was fascinating to read

  3. says:

    Finding Lights in the Deep was one of those happy accidents that leads to lost sleep and happy day dreamsNominee for the Hugo Nebula and Campbell awards and winner of the 2010 Writers of the Future award Brad R Torgersen is one of the newest authors to join the ranks of published science fiction and when he makes it big I want the record to reflect that I was among the first to tout his writing at least in the fan world I first met him after a writers’ panel on Salt Lake Comic Con’s first day Impressed I brought home a copy of his just recently published Lights in the Deep His writing was absorbing and I found myself transported by his fantastic vision of space exploration war with aliens and survival on the ocean’s bottomIn many ways Torgersen’s is the kind of writing is exactly the reason I loved reading science fiction by greats like Robert Heinlein and Larry Niven when I was growing up Their science fiction paints a view of humanity that was hopeful and optimistic even while acknowledging our shortcomings and weaknesses More the settings for his stories find inspiration in a time when the Apollo missions to the moon were still the height of the human technological endeavour but without feeling in anyway anachronistic Rather his view is hopeful putting human potential for good back at the center of science fictionOn a personal note Torgersen is a good and generous person and that alone should inspire you to go buy Lights in the Deep and today to help him get the notice he needs Not long after I listened in on a panel he sat on I hunted him down on the convention floor where he was sharing a booth with the legendary Kevin Anderson and that Anderson would let share a booth should say worlds about Brad Not only was he willing to talk about his experience becoming a published writer but he was encouraging and optimistic about my own tentative admission of writing ambitionLights in the Deep will take you to the moon several times past the orbits of the planets and far out into the universe as well as back to Earth and the depths of the ocean It’s a wonderful read and I can’t wait to pick up Torgersen’s first novel not counting the collaboration he’s doing with Larry Niven later this year The Chaplain’s War when Baen releases it next October

  4. says:

    This collection of short stories comes with some attractive sounding recommendations from other SF authors Torgersen himself seems eager to sell the book to the reader even once you've got it in your hands; the stories are interspersed with anecdotes about his successes in selling to magazines or collaborating with other authors who are to a man impressed with Torgersen's brillianceTorgersen often deals with themes of military life and religious faith and as someone not particularly interested in either I was reassured by the uotes from authors who admit to similar feelings yet loved Torgersen's stories However by the end of the book I was no interested and not very impressed with Torgersen's writing The characters are stiffly concerned with their duty and although they are described as conflicted there is no real interesting conflict to be found; enemies whether alien or Chinese exist only as a mysterious evil or faceless goons In a couple of stories Outbound and Exanastasis Torgersen evokes a chilling loneliness among the stars as most of the human race has been destroyed but that's about as good as it gets while it's not awful there is nothing compelling or layered in the plots little style in the writing and no characters that you'll remember a week after finishing the bookNo doubt there are great SF stories to be told about faith and duty but on this evidence I won't be looking for Torgersen to supply them

  5. says:

    I enjoyed all the stories and I'm a fan of Brad R Torgersen I bought this book especially for my library as my South Sydney library didn't have a copy I think The Chaplain's Assistant is not very reflective of a Christian or Baptist churchThe Assistant to the Chaplain is very reluctant where he should be passionate and servant hearted If this is what he has chosen or been called to do with his life he could have spent years euipping himself with God's word Why does he feel so inept to teach the Mantis professor? He should be overjoyed to have the opportunity and to eagerly teach I thought that was a poor plot hole

  6. says:

    Excellent collection of science fiction short stories

  7. says:

    My first exposure to the works of Brad R Torgersen was the story “Ray of Light” in the November 2011 Analog Like David Levine’s “Tk’Tk’Tk’ “ I thought it was worthy of awards nominations as soon as it came out I forgot the author’s name over time and then saw he was up for a Nebula for that storyI reuested a copy of the anthology it was in for review Brad sent along a copy of THE CHAPLAINS WAR which is not a small press publication so I could not review it over at Abyss Apex but they should make it into a movie really and his other collection which I will also review RACERS OF THE NIGHT Before I get into the individual stories let me just mention that I love the little afterwords that Torgersen adds after each piece giving us an insight into his creative process They should be reuired reading for aspiring genre writers And these gems are written in such an accessible style like you’re hanging out with him at a con suite and having a friendly conversationI had not yet read “Outbound” It was a revelation to me as it had been to Stanley Schmidt when he found it in his slush pile Editors live for such discoveries and I envy Stan the excitement of being gobsmacked by “Outbound” and Brad back when he was running Analog it’s in this book’s Introduction by Schmidt – one of three introductions the other two by Mike Resnick and Allan Cole My brain nearly shorting out kept going over the absolutely satisfying perfection of the story “Outbound” resonates on so many levels entertainment is too lax a word of it as it also achieves perfection in myth and literature and hard science the kind of science that is all too lacking in much of the genre I was particularly taken with the brilliance of literary devices like uploading his protagonist’s mind to the ship’s AI which shortened the reader’s perception of the enormous amount of time it took to get to the Kuiper Belt and Oort cloud It’s also ultimately a superversive work despite horrific things happening it was hopeful and positive in a sea of depressing dystopian narratives If you have not read it I’ve given away enough already Go Read and marvelI’m not a fan of alternative history but “Gemini 17” is a story about the space program and how it could have shaken out if both the USSR and USA had not waited on the next generation of space craft for a moonshot Fantastic period piece and history really could have happened that with with very few tweaks The way our intrepid astronaut gets his unexpected help and helps back is very possible too but only because of the limits of that day’s technologyI would have read “The Bullfrog Radio Astronomy Project” for the title alone Bullfrog is a town and our hero started a little community radios station when he retired Which got into helping an amateur SETI set up with broadcast content The FCC becomes the least of his problemsIn the fascinating “Exiles of Eden” humanity has a galactic foe who uses a new and cunning weapon against the survivors of their purges But humans are cunning tooAs an editor who specializes in finding new talent–25% of our stories are first time publications for their authors– I found Brad Torgeren’s first published story “Footprints” to be a wonderful offering I certainly would have bought it Note to writers just starting out he was not paid for this story but used it as a cover letter credit and to hone his skills Well in this collection he is certainly getting paid for it nowPretty interesting “The Exchange Officers” talks of what Torgersen calls “chair jockeys operating robots” – in a remotely controlled space battle“The Chaplain’s Assistant” has an assistant to a young assistant chaplain stuck a crazy position on an alien planet He has to figure out how to be a peacemaker while making peace with himself The follow up novella “The Chaplain’s Legacy” is not merely riffing on the success of the earlier story It is all expanded into The Chaplain’s War Baen which I heartily recommendTorgersen’s “Writers of the Future” win was for “Exanastasis” a story about resurrection Add a star if you are a student of Greek myths but really this is all about the future the way Stross’ Accelerondo isI said enough about the underwater “Ray of Light” in my first paragraph It is by the way illustrated by the collection’s title and it’s a wonderful denouement to a fine collection

  8. says:

    An anthology of some of Mr Torgersen’s short stories and novelettesI was especially impressed with the bookend stories Outbound and Ray of Light Both are post apocalyptic tales but infused with a strong sense of hope The rest are all fine stories as wellThe author is a self avowed fan of an earlier less disillusioned era of science fiction And it shows in all the best ways The stories are clearly inspired by classic Orson Scott Card Larry Niven and Joe Haldeman But they are not simple rehashings The ideas are fresh the characters feel real and the themes are well developedhttpwwwbooksrosbochnet202008

  9. says:

    A strong anthology of Nivenesue science fiction My only real beef with this particular collection was that it seemed like every story was trying to find the ray of hope in a terrible terrible backstory The cumulative background casualty count to these stories is many times the current population of the Earth which I found somewhat taxing to consider despite the generally upbeat message behind the stories themselves The fact that I really like this style of story is what drives me crazy about the whole 'Sad Puppies' Hugo nomination controversy of which the author is a strong proponent I'm not going to link to it here Google it if interested I like the classic style of science fictional stories with simple competent self assured people taking on the universe These stories dominated the Hugos 20 30 years ago and there still is a market for them to this day as this collection shows Nonetheless the fact that they no longer dominate the Hugos is not a cause for hand wringing and abuse at the Hugo voters who prefer other stuff The whole Sad Puppy business boils down to an extended whine that how dare these people not like what I like

  10. says:

    Sort of a mixed bag like most collections of short stories I guess Some are good like the wonderfully constructed Outbound Exiles of Eden or Exanastasis and some just don't have enough meat on them to really be something or are too simplisticTorgersen is clearly to keep an eye on though When he hits the target he manages to create believable and immersive realities I am not a great fan of short stories myself because I find them too limited in terms of what you can achieve Torgersen seems to be able sometimes to overcome these limits but not ALL the time I would like to test his mettle on a full length novelAnyway this is definitely one of the finest pieces of old school sci fi I've read in a while Not that the genre is exactly flourishing right nowThree and a half stars would probably be best