Rock On: The Greatest Hits of Science Fiction & Fantasy edited by Paula Guran
Kick out the jams with hot licks and fantastic riffs on rock and roll from the only kind of fiction that feeds the soul: science fiction and fantasy. Like rock, speculative fiction is larger than life and there’s no limit on where it can take you. Electrifying stories with the drive, the emotion, the heart of rock. Headliners, award winners, and rising stars take the stage with their greatest fictional hits. Find a place, grab some space...get ready to rock! Includes two original stories.
"This collection of 24 stories, ranging from new works to decades-old Hugo nominees . . .evokes rock music’s legacy of pushing boundaries and railing against the establishment ethos . . . this diverse collection will appeal to most rock-and-roll and genre fans."—Publishers Weekly
Contents (in alphabetical order):
Elizabeth Bear, “Hobnoblin Blues”: What if the trickster god Loki—who could sing gold from a dwarf, love from a goddess, troth from a giantess, bargain kidnapped goddesses away from giant captors, and blood-brotherhood from the All-Father—became a rock star?
Poppy Z. Brite, “Arise”: Cobb and Matthews are fictional renditions of Lennon and McCartney. Cobb, who faked his death years before to escape fame, hears Matthews has died of cancer. But the “death” turns out to be a creative resurrection.
Edward Bryant, “Stone” (Nebula Award winner; Hugo nominated):
Stim music: the empathy of the star performer feeds the wired-in audience and the audience feeds it back to the performer. But how far can it go?
Pat Cadigan, “Rock On”: In the near future, rock ’n’ roll faces extinction. Only those who’ve experienced the real thing via neural interface can keep it alive.
Lawrence C. Connolly “Mercenary” (Original): Bobbie Silver turns up to play and Silverheads—musicians and fans—gather at secret concerts. The music seems to bring hope and joy to a hopeless, joyless world, but not all see it that way. Online warnings of hidden threats and secret agendas...and perhaps the sources themselves...disappear.
Bradley Denton “We Love Lydia Love”: To what lengths will the industry go to keep a rock megastar producing platinum? How far will a musician go to get a recording contract?
Elizabeth Hand “The Erl-King” (World Fantasy Award Nominee, Novella):
Linette, the daughter of a survivor of the glitterati Warhol set of the 70s, meets a reclusive former rock star who her mother once knew. He can see magical beings through the windows of his mansion, and these are dark creatures indeed...
Del James “Mourningstar” (Original): Fearing he will lose his guitarist, the lead singer of a band dedicated to darkness is determined his desires will be fulfilled and no sacrifice is too great.
Graham Joyce “Last Rising Son”: Two young people, an old blues song about doom updated, and a haunted Wurlitzer.
Greg Kihn “Then Play On“: Sometimes a guitar player’s fingers hurt so bad you can’t play, but you still gotta play. One night Charlie appears, playing a harmonica, and a guitarist’s prayers are answered...maybe “prayers” isn’t the right word, though...
Marc Laidlaw “Wunderkindergarten”: “Like a monster movie in which the monster gets to tap dance to rock. Only more so.“
Caitlín R. Kiernan “Paedomorphosis”: Annie plays in the band, TranSister, but when she visits a member of the rock band Seven Deadlies (who practice—loudly—next door), she discovers a really weird scene.
Charles de Lint “That Was Radio Clash”: In a salute to the Clash’s Joe Strummer, a story about making the right choices, taking chances—maybe getting a second chance—and a little bit of wish fulfillment.
Graham Masterton “Voodoo Child”: Jimi Hendrix is long dead, but there he is in London, recognized by an old friend. The man who wrote and performed “Voodoo Chile” had more acquaintance with certain strange rituals than we knew.
Alastair Reynolds “At Budokan”: Starts with a nightmare about being crushed to death by a massive robot version of James Hetfield of Metallica fame and ends with a Tyrannosaurus rex playing a Gibson Flying V.
David J. Schow “Odeed”: Nihilism, anarchy, audiences gone wild—it’s all rock’n’roll, right? Then one night the band Gasm takes it all the way...the true power of rock literally annihilates.
Lewis Shiner “Jeff Beck”: Blue-collar Felix loves Jeff Beck. When he takes an unusual new drug he makes a wish: “I want to play guitar like Jeff Beck.” We all know to be careful what we wish for...
John Shirley “Freezone”: Rick Rickenharp is a retro-rocker in a near-future cyberpunk world of warring corporations and multi-cultural chaos.
Lucius Shepard “...How My Heart Breaks When I Sing This Song...”: Rock returns to a post-semi-apocalyptic world in the form of an android with the memories of a long-dead musician. Haunted when he was alive, in his present form, his is a tortured soul.
Norman Spinrad “The Big Flash” (Nebula Nominee, Novelette ): Rock and roll and a secret Pentagon propaganda campaign get way out of hand. A tour-de-force of style with multiple viewpoints.
Bruce Sterling “We See Things Differently”: A future America—with nothing much left except pop culture to sell—seen from the perspective of an Arab visitor. Tom Boston is a famous rock star and demagogue whose tour he covers for Al-Ahram
Michael Swanwick “The Feast of Saint Janis” (Nebula Nominee, Novelette): A vistor from New Africa visit a future America in which Janis Joplin is worshiped as a goddess made flesh, with all the power and pitfalls that accompany the role.
F. Paul Wilson “Bob Dylan, Troy Johnson, and the Speed Queen”: Man from the future goes back to the sixties, thinking he can use his knowledge of the history of rock to become part of its heyday as a rock star. Things, of course, do not go as planned.
Howard Waldrop “Flying Saucer Rock and Roll”: A brilliant celebration of the underdog and a capella do-wop rock...with UFOs.
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