|This is the first published collection of short stories by one of the foremost voices in science fiction today. This significant volume contains many characters and situations that later evolved into their own novels. "Mandala" features technologically perfect cities that eject their sinful human occupants, a premise that can be found at the root of Bear's later novel, Strength of Stones. In "Hardfought", Bear brilliantly handles the classic science fiction dilemma of human communication with aliens. Other stories include "The Wind From a BurningWoman" in which a woman holds the world hostage by controlling a giant asteroid; "Scattershot", in which the inhabitants of many universes meet in an undefined limbo space; and "Petra", a story of a world where chaos rules, stone moves and the mind controls reality. Hailed by readers and critics alike, The Venging has been described as "an excellent collection" and its author praised as "one of the freshest writers to break into the science fiction field in many a year".|
The son of a naval officer, Gregory Dale Bear had traveled widely around the Pacific Ocean by the time he was 12. He began writing stories very early, and by age 13, he was submitting stories to magazines. His first published story, "Destroyers", appeared in 1967. After graduating from San Diego State in 1969 with a B.A., Bear completed his first novel, which was finally published in the mid-'80s after extensive revisions. He was married in 1975, though it ended in divorce six years later. After more short-story publications, 1979's HIEGIRA became his first novel. Though a couple of earlier stories had attracted some notice from various award-nomination committees, it wasn't until 1983 that Bear's work was really noticed. That year saw the publication of "Blood Music", a complex tale of genetic engineering that won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. Expanded into a full-length novel in 1985, it marked an important point in the evolution of the science fiction sub-genre of "hard science." As John Clute writes in THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION: "It can be argued that the singular failure of almost all hard-sf writers to create noteworthy literature lies in their assumption that it is more difficult to understand - say - plasma physics than to understand human beings. The significance of G[reg] B[ear]'s...novels lies in the fact that his human beings are more difficult to describe than his physics." In 1983, Bear was married again, this time to Astrid Anderson, the daughter of another science fiction writer, Poul Anderson. Subsequent stories--award-winners like "Hardfaught" and "Tangents"--and Bear's next few novels, which included best sellers and award nominees such as EON, THE FORGE OF GOD, and ETERNITY, were capped by 1990's QUEEN OF ANGELS, a novel that bridged the gap between hard sf and cyberpunk. MOVING MARS (1994) and "/"--also known as SLANT--(1997) are both set in the same future as QUEEN OF ANGELS. 1998 saw the release of FOUNDATION AND CHAOS, book two in the Second Foundation series (the first is by Gregory Benford, the third by David Brin). The project expanded the universe described in Isaac Asimov's enormously influential original Foundation series. In addition to writing, Bear is an accomplished illustrator--some of his art graces the covers of his own books--and he has worked as a freelance journalist covering, among other things, the Voyager mission to Jupiter and Saturn.