This is a collection of short stories and essays edited by Les Johnson and Jack McDevitt:
I’ve reviewed other novels by McDevitt and enjoyed them quite a bit, so when this anthology came out, I was quick to buy it. Overall, it was pretty good, but its mixed nature made it inconsistent.
I enjoyed all the essays. They were full of facts, history, and a reasonable amount of hard science. They even had a few diagrams, so I’m glad I bought it in dead-tree edition rather than e-book. Mostly the essays dealt with various proposals for real interstellar spacecraft that would plod along at slower than the speed of light. While that can make for weak fiction, it’s actually possible by our current understanding of the universe. No magic physics is required.
The fiction was hit or miss for me. I did really enjoy one of the stories by McDevitt, and it truly did make me care about the main character, an AI computer that finally got a shot at the big game. A couple of others left me flat, and one truly disappointed me. It dealt with a multi-generation colony ship, and I found it lacking compared to my own novel of a similar colony ship. That’s not really fair to this story, of course, but that’s how it hit me.
So, if you want some info on real interstellar proposals, get this for the articles, and maybe check out the fiction.