book cover of Standard Candles

Standard Candles

(1996)
A collection of stories by

 
 
Sixteen outstanding stories by Hugo and Nebula-award nominee, Jack McDevitt. TABLE OF CONTENTS: Contents: Standard Candles Tidal Effects Translations from the Colosian Black to Move The Fort Moxie Branch Promises to Keep Gus To Hell with the Stars Ellie The Jersey Rifle Cruising Through Deuteronomy Tyger Auld Lang Boom Dutchman Cryptic Time Travelers Never Die

McDevitt's tales have an emotional resonance that lingers well after the book has been set aside. Standard Candles is a strong, strong collection. -Cemetery Dance

It has long been a landmark in a science fiction writer's career when a publisher decides it is time to publish a collection of his or her best short fiction. Once upon a time, the publishers who did such things were mass market paperback houses. Today they are largely (not exclusively) small presses that market to the dedicated SF audience. NESFA Press is a good example; it collects work of Boskone guests of honor. So is Tachyon Publications, as it demonstrates with Standard Candles: The Best Short Fiction of Jack McDevitt.

McDevitt has done a number of very interesting novels, of which the last two were The Engines of God and Ancient Shores. The short fiction has been accumulating for years - clever, insightful, often marked by oddly inconclusive endings, and quite neglected in the sense of fame, fortune, and awards. Two of the sixteen stories thus ring of personal revelance: the title story concerns an astronomer who, though he has never flared as brightly as a nova has had a long and glowing career; "The Fort Moxie Branch" offers the notion of a future library that preserves the work of neglected writers and materializes rather like an Isher weapons shop to offer afirmation when a writer needs it most. "Auld Lang Boom" is the butterfly whose wings cause hurricanes - everytime two old friends meet, something awful happens in the world; the surviving heir of one, reading the diary left behind, gets quite spooked. "Cryptic" is the tale of closing down a SETI operation and finding the files of an old computer disk with frightening implications. "Time Travelers Never Die" plays fast and loose with continuity when even after death a time traveler is able to maintain contact with his lover. "The Jersey Rifle" concerns the discovery of the world's greatest chess player, an unassuming druggist who can beat anyone. And more. - Analog



Praise for this book

"In both his novels and his short fiction, Jack McDevitt has shown a terrific range of skills and imagination and speculation. Only one thing remains the same from piece to piece to piece - they're all damn fine stories." - Kevin J Anderson

"McDevitt is the real thing: a writer with depth, integrating scientific issueswith human concerns on a vast stage, lit by vivid colors." - Gregory Benford

"Jack McDevitt is one of the few authors in contemporary science fiction whose work moves faultlessly from scientic speculation to speculations on the nature of reality and the human condition. McDevitt fashions fully realized worlds, rich in imagination, peopled by fully believable characters. More important, you can count on him for a damn fine read. - Bruce Boston" - Bruce Boston

"Always engaging and insightful, McDevitt can be counted on to ask the deep questions." - David Brin

"It's high time indeed for a Jack McDevitt story collection! McDevitt writes with wisdom, compassion, and an abiding sense of wonder - everything that has drawn me again and again to the worlds of science fiction - real people with real concerns, in extraordinary settings. If you haven't read this man's work, start now!" - Jeffrey A Carver

"The ideal writer can stretch your mind with a wonderful concept while also touching your heart with a personal story. Most of us fail at one or the other, but from the very beginning of his career Jack McDevitt has shown that he can do both." - Michael Cassutt

"Long after you've closed this book,the stories will stay in your mind and in your heart." - Karen Joy Fowler

"Jack McDevitt is one of those rare science fiction writers capable of taking the tropes of the field - from war and the military to alien contact to scripture vs. science - and breathing wonderful life into them. He's always a pleasure to read." - Gregory Frost

"Jack McDevitt is a master of the short story form." - Kathleen Ann Goonan

"You hold in your hand some of the best work of one of our best writers." - James Patrick Kelly

"It's not McDevitt's style, though his prose is wonderfully clear and deceptively simple. It's not his plots, though his stories always ask hard questions, and never settle for easy answers. For me it's his humanity. McDevitt understands the way people talk and think and behave, and still somehow has boundless compassion for the human animal." - Lewis Shiner


Used availability for Jack McDevitt's Standard Candles

Hardback Editions

August 1996 : USA Hardback
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Title: Standard Candles: The Best Short Fiction of Jack McDevitt
Author(s): Jack McDevitt
ISBN: 0-9648320-4-6 / 978-0-9648320-4-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Tachyon Pubns
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU