Way of the Laser: Future Crime Stories

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Every time you see a law, it’s meant to stop something someone else has already proven can be done (and might well still be done if it weren’t for the law). This is true for everything from murder to providing dangerous work environments to loitering. For a time, people believed that when the future came, we would be beyond such things as crime. This optimism is most famously seen in Star Trek, but it can be found in many shows and books from that era.

Today, people are rather more cynical. Even those who think people are basically good deep down would think it too optimistic to believe in a future entirely free from crime. Where there are laws, there are reasons to keep them in place and people still trying to break them.

The Way of the Laser is an anthology fit for the bridge between today and tomorrow. Here you won’t find the bright-eyed optimism of Star Trek. This is, after all, an anthology of future crime stories. However, it isn’t all echoes of Blade Runner and the more pessimistic side of cyberpunk either. Instead, the various authors present a balance between faith in humanity and knowledge of its dark side that comes as close to realism as anything I’ve seen in other sci-fi.

As I read, I kept my eyes open for various stories I could mention specifically as some of my favorites. Before I was even halfway through, however, I found that was impossible. Each one is a wonder, albeit in a very different way. For some, making a comparison would be more than just comparing apples and oranges; it would be comparing apples and shrimp dumplings. Both are food, but they serve very different purposes, just as each of these stories approaches the matter of future crime from very different angles.

So whether you’re looking for hard sci-fi or something more wildly speculative, you’ll find something to enjoy in this collection. The settings range from Earth in the not-too-distant future to alien planets that present their own problems for human settlers, and the crimes themselves vary from your standard murder and theft to deciding whether to take care of an unauthorized baby. Even the morality of each story varies. Some have the feel of a cop drama, while others question whether the law at the heart of the story is good, and whether the criminal is even entirely bad. I’m very glad I picked this book up to review, and I know any science fictions fans will be glad they picked it up to read.

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Star Count 5/5
Format eBook
Page Count 400 pages
Publisher Vernacular Books
Publish Date 25-Jun-2020
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue May 2020
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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