Reviews

Novels

Unforgettable

“Stone’s debut is a neat little high-tech thriller…”

–Publishers Weekly  [source]

“‘Unforgettable’ is set in the near future, and it’s a dizzying and unrelenting adventure…”

–Deseret News [source]

“[A] wonderful adventure built around a clever, original idea.”

–Orson Scott Card, Rhino Times [source]

“In addition to telling a great adventure tale, Stone explores what it means to belong to a community, the nature of free will and the importance of autonomy.”

–The Daily News (Galveston, Texas) [source]

“This is a fun, exciting tale that is impossible to put down.”

–Weekly Press (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) [source]

“Overall, Stone takes an intriguing concept and creates a fun, fast-paced thriller.”

–Fresh Fiction [source]

“Stone handles his material well, successfully integrating characters, their backgrounds, and their increasingly complex relationships; multiple exotic locales; and minutiae of quantum physics. In the end, he transcends clockwork-SF storytelling as his explorations of intriguing scientific possibilities and human realities lead him to a puzzle as fundamental to human existence as the quantum universe is to the (borrowing from Stephen King) macroverse: the essential nature of freedom while creating a good deal of quirky enjoyment along the way.”

–Dialogue: The Journal of Mormon Thought [source]

“This was a fun spy thriller that owes as much to James Bond (and says so) as it does to scientific theory.”

–Futures Past and Present [source]

“It’s a great thriller, Nat and Yelena have real chemistry, and author Stone somehow makes the gimmick work.”

–Analog Science Fiction & Fact [source]

“With his debut novel, Nebula award winner Eric James Stone has masterfully wedded the immensely popular spy thriller with one of the cleverest science fiction takes dealing with quantum mechanics I have ever read.”

–Tangent Online [source]

“Stone takes this character and throws him into a fight for the future of the world, using quantum physics as the battleground. And somehow, it all works wonderfully. I found myself learning things and turning pages at a frenetic rate–a combination you just don’t find every day.”

–Bryce Moore [source]

“I can hardly recommend this book enough. If you have given any thought to reading a science fiction book, pick up Unforgettable. You won’t regret it.”

–NewMyths.com [source]

Unforgettable is fun and effortlessly readable. It moves at a sizzling pace with just the right amount of droll humour conveyed through its casual tone.”

–BestScienceFictionBooks.com [source]

“This book merits five stars because it is precisely what it ought to be: entertaining.”

–Sci Phi Journal [source]

“This was a fun spy thriller that owes as much to James Bond (and says so) as it does to scientific theory.”

–Futures Past and Present [source]

“[Unforgettable] is like if the perfect science-fiction novel and the perfect spy thriller had a baby, and that baby was smart, fast-paced, and fun.”

–Quantum Fairy Tales [source]

Short Fiction

“The Ashes of His Fathers”

And if all of Analog’s stories were as good as “The Ashes of His Fathers,” the magazine might sell substantially better. … This story works on many different levels, and is very well written, indeed, by Eric James Stone. It was accidentally omitted from the table of contents, and that’s a shame. Don’t miss this one, especially if you like to be reminded, occasionally, that people can work together to overcome problems.

–Gerald W. Page, The Fix [source]

There is much to appreciate in this story, which considers such problems as the difference in thought-processes between humans and AIs; the reaction of a civilization that has outgrown religion to an encounter with religious fanaticism; the way a bureaucrat must try to balance personal feelings with adherence to the rules. Mariposa’s solution is both drastic and sensitive, a decision only a human could have made.

RECOMMENDED

–Lois Tilton, Internet Review of Science Fiction [source]

“Attitude Adjustment”

Another short problem-solving piece with a tone rather too much like a Heinlein juvenile.*

–Lois Tilton, Internet Review of Science Fiction [source]
[*Note: I like Heinlein juvenile stories, so I take the comparison as a compliment.–EJS]

“Buy You a Mockingbird”

The protagonist’s narrative is priceless. She is full of regret, but regret you could never imagine. This short tale has an ending I just loved. A well done work of science fiction wrapped in a small package. Recommended

Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots [source]

The most powerful flash fiction I ever read

Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots [source]

“By the Hands of Juan Peron”

“By The Hands” is a good tale. True to history with teasers for histories that never were. If you like Alternative History as much as I, then you won’t want to miss this one.

Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots [source]

“Crowdfinding”

But this story has a great little twist in it. Just perfect.

Sam Tomaino, SFRevu [source]

It’s a fast-paced adventure… [T]he look at crowdsourced crime solving is a clever concept.

Chuck Rothman, Tangent Online [source]

“Dark Roads for the Eternal Ruler”

This story has a very clever outcome. Kudos to Mr Stone.

Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots [source]

“The Final Element”

“And thusly (if I make speak in Good Doctor mode) Stone provides a story that could have been penned by Asimov.”

Mark Watson, BestSF.net [source]

“Clever detective story with SFnal flavor.”

Lois Tilton, Internet Review of Science Fiction [source]

“Freefall”

“Freefall” is excellent science fiction. The premise is based on a future but likely technology with a potentially real problem. The story is quick and thrilling.

Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots [source]

Without looking, there’s one story that has really stuck in my mind: “Freefall” by Eric James Stone. It’s an incredibly powerful piece, partially because it packs so much world building and personality into a very small space.

Sylvia Spruck Wrigley [source]

“Girl Who Asks Too Much”

Mr. Stone amazes me on how in depth he can make a story with a thousand words.

Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots [source]

“An Immense Darkness”

“An Immense Darkness” is the most intense five pages I’ve read in quite a while. . . . This is everything I want in science fiction.

Daniel Craig Friend, Troublemaking Editor [source]

Very interesting look at possible future ethics.

Sam Tomaino, SFRevu [source]

This [story] is timely, very much so.

–Lois Tilton, Locus [source]

A good, moving and thought provoking story.

–TPI’s Reading Diary [source]

“In Memory”

Standouts include Eric James Stone’s eerie “In Memory,” whose hero, a brilliant mad physicist, exists as a disembodied computer image…

–Publisher’s Weekly [source]

“Premature Emergence”

This one has the feel of a classic along the lines of Murray Leinster’s “First Contact” and Barry Longyear’s “Enemy Mine” — a must read.

–Trent Walters, SF Site [source]

“Rejiggering the Thingamajig”

Rejiggering the Thingamajig by Eric James Stone, featuring a sapient tyrannosaurus Buddhist, a buggy interstellar travel network, a sentient (and enthusiastic) gun and a less than honest help line is my favorite story of the issue. It is funny and serious, and accomlishes the difficult feat of merging these two elements without it seeming forced while telling an interesting story.

–Aaron Pound, Dreaming About Other Worlds [source]

An intelligent spacefaring vegetarian Buddhist Tyrannosaurus Rex, a trigger-happy smartgun that talks like Yosemite Sam, and an ill-defined quest with an incomprehensible talisman at the end of it. Awesome.

David Steffen, Diabolical Plots [source]

“Resonance”

After the exposition, however, this complex and intelligent piece unfolds very smoothly. The author creates a clever plot and characters worth rooting for, all leading to an exciting climax. This story may particularly appeal to fans of hard SF, given its emphasis on physics concepts.

–Brit Marschalk, Tangent Online [source]

“The Robot Sorcerer”

The story is personal in scale and filled with mystery, action, and even tragedy. Stone explores many themes: the nature of life, magic versus technology, magic as technology, moral dilemmas, and self-sacrifice being only a few. He does so while also creating a complex plot that doesn’t confuse the reader, establishing depth of character, and describing a rich and fascinating world while also maintaining a good pace. It is, by far, the best story in this issue.

–Scott M. Sandridge, The Fix [source]

“A Sufficiently Advanced Christmas”

Eric James Stone’s “A Sufficiently Advanced Christmas,” in which computers communicating with a child learn their own Christmas moral, is particularly touching.

Publishers Weekly (starred review) [source]

“Tabloid Reporter to the Stars”

This wonderfully written science fiction story deftly pulls off laugh after laugh while also illuminating critical issues surrounding science, religion, culture, and, most importantly, what exactly is that thing we call truth.

–Jason Sanford, StorySouth [source]

“Tabloid Reporter to the Stars” is pure Robert Sheckley and a perfect example of how to pull off an absurd twist ending and make it work.

–Adam Balm, Ain’t It Cool News [source]

Having said that, there are two stories that come out quite prominently. “Tabloid Reporter to the Stars,” by Eric James Stone is both character-driven with shades of humor. The protagonist has a rich background and throw in an interesting dilemma with regards to a ship’s exploration.

Charles Tan, Bibliophile Stalker [source]

“Taint of Treason”

Eric James Stone’s “Taint of Treason” is another gem, a brief but tragic story with a surprising conclusion. … “Taint of Treason” packs a hell of a punch into its tiny frame (it’s not quite two pages long). It’s tempting to interpret it as an allegory for totalitarian regimes with its upside down notions of justice and betrayal. Allegory or not, it’s a splendid tale.

–Douglas Hoffman, Tangent Online [source]

“That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made”

“That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made”, by Eric James Stone, is a wonderful read that uses humor to great effect, telling the tale of a Mormon missionary whose conversion of a race of aliens doesn’t sit well with a human scientist – and fares no better with the alien race’s cantakerous god.

–Joseph Mallozzi, executive producer on the Stargate and Dark Matter TV series [source]

Contained within is an impressively diverse collection including the Nebula Award-winning novelette “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone, a deeply thought-provoking story about a Mormon congregational leader living in a station located at the heart of the sun whose flock includes solcetaceans, beings made of plasma that can grow to gigantic proportions. Faced with a moral conundrum involving one of the aliens, the man seeks out Leviathan, a virtually immortal being who claims to be “the original lifeform in the universe.” The dialogue that follows will enlighten both beings…

–Paul Goat Allen, Explorations: The Barnes & Noble SciFi and Fantasy Blog [source]

Stone’s story is chock full of scriptural allusions to the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Book of Mormon– some stated plainly, others less so. Most intriguing for me is the Job-like confrontation at the story’s end between the finite Malan and the all-but-infinite Leviathan. The idea that limited, contingent, mortal beings can have some influence and importance in the infinite, eternal eyes of the deity is, arguably, the core of all human religion. Stone’s story presents this concept in the context of a speculative ethical puzzle, and is quite entertaining to boot. Its Nebula nomination is well earned.

–Gabriel Mckee, SF Gospel [source]

But matters improved quickly, as the characters proved to be reasonable and well-rounded human beings, despite their conflicting viewpoints, who even managed to work together. And the sincere faith of Harry Malan managed to make me sympathize with his religious mission, which is a very hard sale indeed.

–Lois Tilton, Locus Online [source]

Ah, but the plot gets refreshingly intriguing when the oldest and largest alien claims to be a god, the original life form, the creator of [all?] other life forms. Then it gets refreshingly ominous when the self proclaimed god squares off with the Mormon, his alien convert, and their competing god. At the end, we get a good blending of plot, character development, and theme.

–Carl Slaughter, Tangent Online [source]

Eric James Stone manages to combine religion and science in an entertaining, well-plotted tale that doesn’t come off as overly preachy.

–Rena Hawkins, Tangent Online [source]

This story is great, starring a Mormon missionary in space, interacting with aliens who live in the heart of suns. So many great ideas, very well written, great stuff.

David Steffen, Diabolical Plots [source]

Weaving religion into science fiction is always a tricky proposition, but when it works, the pay-off can be magnificent.

David Dickinson, Astro Guyz [source]

“They Do It with Robots”

They Do It With Robots is one of those stories that’s really hard to review, really. I could go on for page after page on why I liked it, or the kind of strings it tugged in me (the heart kind) or with how much precision. With the intent of not wasting your time, I will instead list why I loved this story, in Silver-Age Style cover format:

-EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT!

-A HINT TO A MUCH LARGER UNIVERSE!

-A TRAGIC LOVE STORY!

-A CRISIS AVERTED! OR IS IT?

Konstantine Paradias, BestScienceFictionStories.com [source]

General

Of particular interest are the stories by Eric James Stone, whose contributions have helped cement his reputation as one of the most interesting new writers of the decade: examples include his fantasy of temptation “Salt of Judas” (March 2006 #2) and the ingenious melding of science and magic in “The Robot Sorcerer” (December 2008 #10).

“Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show” entry, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction [full article]

Eric James Stone is revelation, his writing full of the fantastic, wonderful, and imaginative world that marks what science fiction ought to be. Along with a delightful and surprising sense of humor, a cleverness for unexpected plot twists, and a taste for the quirks of human nature, Stone’s collection is an utterly enjoyable romp through a mind that is ever interested in the world we live in and the worlds we might create.

In short, it is wonderful writing.
Dan Burton, Attack of the Books [source]

All of the stories are entertaining; half will stick with you. While more than capable of evoking thought and strong emotions from the reader, Stone remains unafraid of the Golden-Age-style, short-short entertainments.

Trent Walters, SF Site [source]

…Mr Stone again demonstrates why he is one of the top writers in speculative fiction today.

Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots [source]

Above all, a good SF story needs to have characters interesting and sympathetic enough for us to care about them. Eric James Stone not only delivers all of that, and a bag of chips, and a dinosaur to eat them with, but he also does it with such ease that you can finish one story and immediately start another, without needing to put the book down and step away to collect yourself and switch gears. These stories are fun, people. Smiling and laugh-out-loud fun.

Alethea Kontis, Intergalactic Medicine Show [source]