Ranging from flash to full novella lengths, the ten pieces featured here include stories about time travel and the 1939 World’s Fair, a tendentious man/dog relationship on Mars, a spam-blocker program that incidentally shuts down the universe, giant artworks among the nearly immortal, Einstein channeled by a fortune teller, Big Data meets March Madness, and enhanced bonobos trying to re-create Shakespeare’s lost play Cardenio. Hendrix’s stories transcend time and show us the futures the human race yet may face, in the digital age and beyond.
“Howard Hendrix here demonstrates his imagination, versatility, and heart, in story after story. He has a gift for combining the latest news from the sciences with permanent truths of human nature to make fictions that are quirky and memorable. Highly recommended.”
—Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Red Moon
“Howard Hendrix’s work glows with imagination, compassion, and ingenuity. The characters are alive, and the science is gripping.”
—Jack McDevitt, author of The Engines of God
“If you read science fiction to consume and savor ideas—lots of ideas, big and small, salty, bitter and sweet—then Hendrix offers a full course meal in The Girls with Kaleidoscope Eyes.”
—David Brin, author of Existence
“Just when you think you know where these tales are going, the floor drops out under you. The characters seem like people you might recognize—until they don’t. Near future, far future, Earth or far out in space, the stories entertain and satisfy, but above all they make you think. And not all the questions asked lead to pretty answers.”
—Sheila Finch, author of Triad
“Howard Hendrix is one of science fiction’s cleverest writers—a fountain of ideas any one of which would have made Asimov or Clarke proud. Prepare to have your mind blown.”
—Robert J. Sawyer, author of Quantum Night
"The appearance of this new collection gives me hope that we will see lots more work from [Hendrix] in the future. But for the present, we Hendrixophiles will content ourselves with these tales, which exhibit Hendrix’s far-seeing vision, cleverness and range of effects . . . Jubilant and well-entertained readers exiting this fine collection should have a sense of Hendrix’s strong suits. He follows very believable, mostly modest folks through landscapes of intense speculative richness, where deep intellectual, metaphysical and theoretical novums, expertly woven into the narrative tapestry, produce strong emotional resonances. And if that isn’t the definition of an expert SF writer, I don’t know what is!"
—Paul Di Filippo, Locus Magazine
“[Hendrix] demonstrates his considerable talent for blending philosophical and scientific speculation.”
“Hendrix’s first book since the 2006 novel Spears of God collects a pleasing array of science fiction stories. While there are no explicit links between the individual stories, recurring ideas such as the Mobius strip bring a sense of unity. The history of science fiction is well represented, with “Palimpsest” and “The Infinite Manque” paying homage to Arthur C. Clarke and Daniel Keyes, respectively. Other highlights include “Whatever Became of What Might Have Been,” a comparison of addictions; “Knot Your Grandfather’s Knot,” a poignant time travel story centered on the 1939 World’s Fair; “Monuments of Unageing Intellect,” an exploration of the implications of immortality; and the title novella, which combines AI and genetics to explore potential ramifications of the surveillance state. The clever mix of story length and style keeps the reader’s attention. Fans of idea-driven SF will enjoy dipping in here and there or reading the collection straight through.”
"I was aware of Hendrix as a novelist but for some reason was less conscious of him as a writer of short stories, although he has published more than four dozen. This selection of ten is dominated by the title story and all of them, I believe, first appeared in Analog. Although Hendrix has something of a reputation as a writer of "hard" SF, I found that less accurate in reference to this collection, which is at times playful with themes and science as well. I had read all of these stories when they first appeared. About half of them I remembered, generally quite fondly, and a couple seemed fresh enough that I either inadvertently skipped them or hadn't been paying sufficient attention at the time. They run the gamut from fun to thoughtful, but they are invariably readable. I was particularly struck this time through by "Monuments of Unageing Intelllect," plus the title novella. More than worth your time and money."