Titanic Terastructures

By Jessica Augustsson

Rating: 4 stars

This is a great theme for an anthology – collecting stories relating to one of SF’s oldest and fondest tropes – the Big Dumb Object. From space elevators to arcologies to planet-sized cities to Dyson swarms; if it’s a giant megastructure, chances are it’s featured in a story in this book.

I only heard about it because a friend has a story here but I liked the concept enough that it immediately went on my wishlist. One birthday later and it’s sitting on my shelf. There’s a great breadth within the twenty six stories here, and the best of them contrast the size of the structure with the small scale of the characters.

The first story, Honeysuckle for Ashes features a witch, complete with Wizard of Oz style flying house, who lives around a ringworld and the child who stows away when the witch comes to help her mother through a difficult pregnancy. It’s a nice story, but could really be set anywhere, with the ringworld being more backdrop than an important part of the story. Better, in that regard, is You Too Shall Pass, a fable about hope in the face of endless toil and loss, as blue-collar workers strive to build a bridge to a New Earth and what they have to give up along the way.

Highlights for me included The What-The Tree about an interruption to a cold-sleep journey to another star system; Haunting House about a house that’s haunting a shipyard, which I loved for its evocative worldbuilding and clever mystery; and And the House Did Watch Over All about a planet-wide House that’s slowly dying but still has an awareness that tries to help its inhabitants.

There’s more than a few pretty dark stories in the mix, but those too shall pass, and you’ll find yourself reading about living starships, senile giant houses or outsized spacebourne life. A mixed collection, but with the good definitely outweighing the bad for me.

Book details

ISBN: 9798758871829

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