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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Light From the Dust by Matthew William Frend is a compilation of the author's original science fiction short stories, each independent of one another within the genre and each reading entirely as a stand-alone. Frend's stories embody a full range of speculative themes, from Introduced Species, where an evolutionary experiment on a colonized planet impacts the scientists in a deeply unexpected way, to The Signal from the Noise, where a quasi-relationship between the heads of two businesses in a merger sees both potentially compromised by a signal and an ice pick. All told, Frend gives readers seven stories and from this, seven different realities to get wholly lost in.
Light From the Dust is intelligent fiction at its finest. Matthew William Frend employs technical aspects in his work that push beyond the superficial “it is this way because I say so” suspension of disbelief required by many who write science fiction in a compact format. Instead, readers get a clear sense of the how alongside the all-important why, and as a result the overall story is elevated. My favorite is the first story in the compilation called Babysitters, which follows a test family where the parents have abandoned the responsibility of actual parenting, discipline in particular, in exchange for a carefree life. The AI who are doing the hard work for them aren't quite as reliable as hoped. This is an excellent anthology that provided a blissful weekend of enjoyable bite-sized reading that I have no doubt other lovers of the genre will enjoy as well. Very highly recommended.