In this volume are nineteen of 2013’s best new science fiction stories, covering worlds from the contemporary to the technologically-ravaged near future to the far reaches of extra-solar exploration.

With our chemical make-up, clean hydrogen drive and biomolecular imprint – we have pretty good camouflage. The forest can’t detect us as a foreign body.
If it could, we’d be dead.

page 260

This is the second collection of short stories curated by the publisher Solaris.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Science Fiction is full of short stories, and well-curated collections of these stories make for the best reads.

Like any other sci-fi anthology, Solaris Rising 2 presents an eclectic mix of themes, settings, and writing styles, giving any reader a variety of worlds from which to choose.

Rating (3 stars)

While most of the stories in Solaris Rising 2 could stand on their own, too many leave the reader grasping for more.  A few stories feel like abandoned chapters of larger works, hardly qualifying as short stories.

The number of times I had to go back and re-read a page to suss context from the story, or hit a section break without an idea what I’d just read prevent me from rating any higher than 3 stars.

Certain gems, though, like Far Distant Suns by Norman Spinrad and More by Nancy Kress kept my anticipation high as I continued through the book.  The worlds were diverse and unique as their writers, but some of the latter ones lacked the proper payoff of a well-structured anthology.