by Jyouji Hayashi

Haikasoru, $14.99, 267 pages

Sci-Fi rule of thumb: including a black hole can make even the dullest stories stimulating. Take, for example, the lackluster films Event Horizon or Disney’s The Black Hole. With The Ouroboros Wave it’s a different matter; most of the stories included are good, but because they feature a black hole they are even better. The first is an adventure centering–literally–around a black hole, as a group of scientists struggle to control a space station orbiting a black-hole named Kali after the computer’s AI has gone berserk.  As energy is harnessed from Kali, mankind is allowed greater exploration of the solar system but this comes with added complications, as one tale involves discovering sentient life under the seas of Europa–but not the kind we’d expect.

It’s important to note this is part of the sub-genre known as hard SF, meaning the emphasis is on science. As such, much of what you expect from fiction is absent. Character development is slight, as some are known by their names and nothing else. If you’re looking for literary SF, pick up anything by Ursula K. Le Guin or Phillip K. Dick.  If that’s not your thing, try this.

Reviewed by Corey Pung