Reviewed by Sheri Harper
Imaginings: Selected Stories
by Dean Warren
ISBN: 978-1-4771-4526-5, August 6, 2012, Hardcover: 350 pages
Dean Warren has a fine collection of short stories in Imaginings: Selected Stories that take the reader into the future by examining the impact of technological and scientific changes on humans living on Earth and in the universe but he also likes love, freedom, humor, adventure and peace. Here is a brief description of some of these stories by category.
An early story in Imaginings, “Breakout” imagines what would have happen if the SDI had become real, with a General using his valued system manager Dr. Payson to help him bluff out the Russians when they put the system into use. Dr.Payson discovers the true price of freedom. A much later story in the series, “Chameleon” imagines a vehicle that will return Islamic lands to Sheik Mustapha, his son Kemal and the people they free, if he can accept the loss of his freedom. Both stories question how peace is established between countries and militaries and people using technology.
Many of the stories in Imaginings have sexy women, but not all are as pleasant as you might imagine. In “Cycle”, Dean Warren explores what happens after years of controlled menstrual cycles women become superior to men. The discovery of a faster-than light speed engine that will allow colonists to visit planets outside their solar system prompts the men to seek their rights. In “Involuntary Servitude”, humans have been cross-bred with another species to make clones that are dependent, obedient, and with the capability to steal—what happens when two of these meet each other? Both stories question the meaning of freedom and offer technology to push them into a demand for their rights. You might naturally wonder, how does love affect this equation? Dean Warren offers up solutions.
In “Escaping Death’s Dominion,” Dean Warren examines what would happen if a cure for death were found. The answer is one that is of current interest as humans live longer and put strain on the Social Security and Medicare systems. A second story “Risking the Universe” examines what happens to curious people who’ve lived a long time.
Overall, this collection of short stories is quite imaginative and explores many different scientific areas of interest. The stories play with the effect on humanity. They explore changes to our bodies, minds, civilization, relationships and offer looks at different cultures. The only regret I have about this collection is that the author didn’t start with his best story. People that like science fiction, fun tales, and love will find many of these stories quite appealing.
About the reviewer: Sheri Fresonke Harper is a poet and writer. She’s been published in many small journals and is working on her second science fiction novel. Seewww.sfharper.com.