The Planet on the Table

The Planet on the Table

Robinson, Kim Stanley

Language: English

Publisher: Tor Books

Published: Jan 2, 1986

Words: 78286
Pages: 307


Liner Notes “They sailed out of Lisbon harbor with the flags snapping and the brass culverins gleaming under a high white sun, priests proclaiming in sonorous Latin the blessing of the Pope, soldiers in armor jammed on the castles fore and aft, and sailors spiderlike in the rigging, waving at the citizens of the town who had left their work to come out on the hills and watch the ships crowd out the sunbeaten roads, for this was the Armada, the Most Fortunate Invincible Armada, off to subjugate the heretic English to the will of God. There would never be another departure like it” And aboard one of the ships was Manuel Tetuan, a young Moroccan orphan shanghaied from a Franciscan monastery. “Black Air” is the multiple award nominated and World Fantasy Award-winning novelette of Manuel’s beatific innocence, of his compassion in me face of war, and of the miracles that enabled him to survive the tragedy of the doomed Armada. Since the unanimous critical acclaim that greeted his first novel, The Wild Shore, Kim Stanley Robinson has firmly established a reputation for gripping prose, compassionate human insight, and otherworldly visions imbued with a sharply focused sense of vivid, hard reality. Robinson’s extraordinary range of interests is demonstrated in haunting stories of: tourists tooling the beautiful, sunken ruins of Venice: an amoral future sleuth who, with her bumbling Watson, must find the forger of Monets on a planet of wealthy esthetes; three friends, one brain damaged, who confront eternity and subtle magic in the snowbound Sierras; a repertoire company of hypnotically trained, surgically altered actors, and an unknown psychopath whose murders mock the scripts of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama; the historic effects of the Second World War’s last traitor, the pilot who deliberately fails to A-bomb Hiroshima; impoverished Uranian miners who seek fame in an interplanetary music competition by reviving an ancient, lost form—Dixieland Jazz; and a dilapidated Arizona grill-souvenir shop that becomes the focus of a drifter’s encounters with Time and destiny. The Planet on the Table, a rare collection filled with the deftness, honesty and warmth that have propelled Kim Stanley Robinson so quickly into the forefront of modern SF. Kim Stanley Robinson is the author of the Hugo and Nebula nominated novel, *The Wild Shore*, *Icehenge*; and the current Nebula nominee, *The Memory of Whiteness*. His short fiction has been frequently nominated for awards, and he is the winner of the World Fantasy Award for “BIack Air.” His doctoral thesis on Philip K. Dick was recently published by UMI Press. A native of Southern California, Robinson presently lives in Switzerland with his wife, Lisa, an environmental chemist. * Contemporary Reviews %ldquo;A quietly haunting tale, ‘Black Air’ is only incidentally an alternate-world story of the Spanish Armada; its true subject is a young boy’s vision, awakened in impressionistic waves of language that verge on synesthesia,” — The Village Voice “Robinson has been known for several years as one of the finest short story writers around.” —Locus “[Robinson] has shown in his short fiction a genuine love for the word as artifact, for depth of characterization and for the potential of the science fiction genre as an art form.” — Fantasy Review “Robinson’s narrative technique is impressive and the richness of his concepts and language extraordinary.” — Booklist “If a better single-author short story collection comes out this year, its going to be one hell of a year.” — Locus * From Publishers Weekly In the past two years Robinson has published three well-received novels. This, his first collection of shorter work, is comprised of eight stories, including a World Fantasy Award winner and several Hugo and Nebula nominees. Robinson's strengths are a clean, clear style and a depth of characterization unusual for science fiction. Among the stories are "The Lucky Strike," which tells about bombardier Frank January, who in an alternate World War II, refuses to drop the Hiroshima bomb, a gesture that lands him in front of a firing squad and eventually ignites a world-wide peace and disarmament movement. In the award-winning novelette, "Black Air," a boy pressed into service on La Lavia, a galleon in the Spanish Armada, witnesses death in many forms when the Armada is smashed and La Lavia helplessly sails ever northward. The other tales here are similarly strong and imaginative.