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Galileo's Children

Tales of Science Vs Superstition

Gardner Dozois

343 pp • ISBN 978-1-59102-315-9
Hardcover (6" x 9") • $26
Cover Illustration: © David Brian

The battle of science against superstition is still going on, as is the battle to not have to think only what somebody else thinks is okay for you to think. In fact, in a society where more people believe in angels than believe in evolution, that battle may be more critical than ever.

One of the major battlefields of that war is science fiction, one of the few forms of literature where rationality, skepticism, the knowledge of the inevitability of change, and the idea that wide-ranging freedom of thought and unfettered imagination and curiosity are good things are the default positions, taken for granted by most of its authors.

Until some new Inquisition, motivated by ignorance, intolerance, and fear, forces its writers to go underground and mutter "It still moves!" to each other in hiding, science fiction provides one of the few places in modern letters where the battle between science and superstition is openly discussed and debated, and that makes those who write it, as well as those brave characters they write about, embroiled in the age-old struggle to prevent the control of the human mind and the suppression of the human spirit, "Galileo's Children" in a very real way indeed.

The anthology that follows takes us to many different battlefields in that struggle, from the past to the present to the future, to worlds that never were and never will be to worlds deep in space that someday may come to pass, and introduces us to many different warriors, male and female, rich and poor, young and old, who, in their different ways--some quietly, some defiantly, some reluctantly-fight the kind of battles that we ourselves might someday have to fight if we want our children and our grandchildren to be allowed to read these words.

Stories by: Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula K. Le Guin, Greg Egan, George R. R. Martin, Mike Resnick, Robert Silverberg, and others.


"These stories by eminent authors are collected by a former editor of Asimov's Science Fiction....the approach implies a negative slant toward religion, but the encounters are sophisticated and provocative... [and they] also offer insights into the meaning of religion in people's lives. They provide an overview of secular perspectives on religion and are useful for entertainment, self-examination, social relevance, or apologetics....these tales are examples of top-quality storytelling."
—Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

"Assembled under the title's noble banner are 13 masterfully written stories by some of the genre's most respected names .... the selections range from the the philosophical....Enhanced by Dozois' insightful introductions to each author, the collection demonstrates that protecting scientific truth against political and religious meddlers can be entertaining as well as enlightening."

"In addition to increasing readers' awareness of the sometimes bloody struggle between science and religion — a timely theme in our world today — the collection offers a span of perspectives and voices and a breadth of imagination. This would be a fine introduction to the best of sf short story writing. Recommended for public and academic libraries."
—Library Journal

"This reprint anthology reminds us that the struggle against fear and superstition remains as relevant today as in Galileo's time."
—Publishers Weekly

"[A] collection like Galileo's Children is long overdue. I do not hesitate to recommend it."
—Science Fact and Fiction Concatenation

"[T]here are some great short stories here....A thematic collection from first-rate authors."

"[I]f you have a topic that all tales must have as core to the plot, then finding sufficient tales to match the imposed restriction whilst maintaining the very highest standard of storytelling is a difficult task. You may consider yourself relieved to know then that in compiling Galileo's Children, Gardner Dozois has managed to achieve this....if you have any reservations about anthologies, put them on hold for a while and try this book. You might find your reservations disappear. This is a superb collection of stories."
—Eternal Night

"The number of high-quality stories makes this collection a very good one - better than most. (Then again, I suppose that should have been expected with the number of award nominations and wins these stories claim.) Yet another fine job by master editor Gardner Dozois!"

"The finest editor in the world of short SF."
—Publisher's Weekly

"The most imaginative editor in science fiction."
—The Village Voice

"Arguably the most accomplished editor in the field of modern science fiction."
—SF Site


Gardner Dozois

Gardner Dozois was the editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine for almost twenty years, and still is the editor of the annual anthology series The Year's Best Science Fiction, now in its Twenty-second Annual Collection. He is the author or editor of more than a hundred books, and has won an unprecedented fifteen Hugo Awards as the Year's Best Editor, and an equal number of Locus Awards, as well as two Nebula Awards for his own writing.

Photograph: © Susan Casper