The "Year in Books 2001" review in the November 19 issue of Publisher's Weekly named only five science fiction books to its list of the best books of 2001. Impact Parameter was one of those five. The list, according to Publisher's Weekly, "not only designates books of highest quality but also showcases titles that the editor(s) wish to bring special attention to."
The year in review article is available on-line at: Publisher's Weekly
Landis, Geoffrey A. Impact Parameter and Other Quantum Realities. Nov. 2001. 340p. Golden Gryphon, $24.95 (1-930846-06-1).
"Here are 16 stories by award-winning hard-science sf writer Landis, who works for NASA, cogently introduced by Joe Haldeman, and informatively discussed in an afterword by their author. Some of the stories are classic cases of a scientific premise turned into a tale. The Hugo-winning "A Walk in the Sun," for instance, takes the protagonist across the moon's surface, for she has to stay in the sun to keep her solar cells charged. "Into the Blue Abyss" works from the proposition that the planet Uranus consists entirely of ocean and has no solid core. Others are more abstruse-- "Rorvik's War," for example, with what it does with computer simulations. There is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, "The Singular Habit of Wasps," and two extraordinarily powerful pieces with minimal sf content, "Beneath the Stars of Winter" and "Winter Fire."
"A matter of an author putting his best foot forward, this collection is very good indeed, and not only for hard-science sf fans."
"Landis's first short story collection (after his well-received first novel, 2000's Mars Crossing) contains 16 distinguished stories published between 1984 and 1999, with an author's afterword providing valuable insights into the genesis of individual stories as well as Landis's attitudes toward his work.
"In balancing his expertise as a working scientist against his obvious love of language amd emotional sensitivity, Landis consistently achieves striking characterizations within the confines of ingenious futuristies. Because he feels that SF ought to offer hope that the future will be better than what's past, most of these stories end, if not happily, at least positively. In the Hugo-winning "A Walk in the Sun," a marooned spacewoman saves herself by walking 11,000 kilometers around the moon, and, in the enormously moving "Beneath the Stars of Winter," starving zeks in Stalin's bitter gulag create a hymn sub voce to the indomitable human thirst for freedom. Many of the author's central figures are outcasts, like the wry narrator of "Outsider's Chance," who outwits (or does he?) space pirates; the lesbian heroine of "Across the Darkness," who will help found a world that will never forget the dreams that made it; and the unforgettable Sarah of "Snow," a homeless prostitute and a gifted mathematician. Landis's preference for the scientific puzzle story is also evident in "Into the Blue Abyss," a startling exploration of the enigmatic planey Uranus, and in "The Singular Habits of Wasps," a stunner of a Sherlock Holmes story hinging on entomological life cycles.
"Landis's finest success, though, transcends mental acuity and dazzling storytelling: he gives 'hard' science fiction a heart."
"John W. Campbell would have applauded this handiness at agenda hard SF, Landis goes somewhat further. Scientific inquiry enriches existence, but existence must be worthwhile in the first place. And Landis does his competent best at humanizing science and scientists, at suggesting that the latter's emotional lives match the quality of their intellectual insights... "
read the full review on Locus Online
Geoffrey Landis is "a member of one of that rare (although not excessively so) breed of sf writers distinguished in the short form... A collection of his short stories is of particular interest, its publication an event worthy of some excitement."
read the full review on Infinity Plus
"Landis' short stories are perfect picks for any who appreciate the short story form and a healthy blend of hard science and strong characterization. Good hard science fiction often lacks for emotional impact: not so these short stories, which blend tales of virtual reality, black holes, and invaders with solid protagonists. From an issue of death on an ocean world to a pioneer mapping three-dimensional space, Impact Parameter & Other Quantum Realities includes many different scenarios."
--review available from Midwest Book Review
"Hard SF stories with a heart.
"The best stories in Impact Parameter and Other Quantum Realities clearly demonstrate Landis' ability to combine bold hard-SF concepts and problem-solving plots with very memorable human characters."
--D. Douglas Fratz
read the full review at scifi.com
"Many of the characters in Geoffrey A. Landis' new short story collection, Impact Parameter and Other Quantum Realities, are scientists -- which isn't surprising, considering that the author works for NASA. Landis' expertise means the science underpinning most of the stories is rigorously detailed and very much up to date...
This is a strong collection that fans of the science fiction short story shouldn't miss. Landis can sketch characters quickly, explain the science concisely and still have more than enough room to explore fascinating ideas."
read the full review on the BookPage site at www.BookPage.com
"... These are stories where the science feels true and the characters feel real. Geoffrey A. Landis knows his physics, but he also knows that the best way to approach the world of science is through the human heart. "
--Greg L. Johnson
read the full review at www.SFSite.com
"Impact Parameter and Other Quantum Realities provides an excellent look back at the nearly 20-year writing career of Hugo- and Nebula Award-winner Geoffrey A. Landis."
--John C. Snider
read the full review at SciFi Dimensions.
"...Not only do we understand the science in Landis's stories, but through his characters we feel its importance. Like the creation of great art or the expression of extraordinary compassion, the pursuit of knowledge can define us as human because it gives us something beyond ourselves toward which we may reach."
--Lori Ann White
Read the full review at www.strangehorizons.com
"Landis writes really good ones. Mostly they deal with science, with scientists, and with the paths science can take us down. They explore alien worlds, both physical and virtual, and the people who seek to go there.... "
--Science Fiction Book Club
From Rambles, a cultural arts newsletter:
"An absolute pleasure to read."
-- Review at rambles.net
Page by Geoffrey A. Landis
revised March 2002