well, it could be better or worse?
This anthology contains fiction stories from more or less already well known Czech authors, therefore I was curious to read their works written in English.
The editor and author Julie Novakova opens and closes the collection with her intro and afterword essay and the contributor Rachel Cordasco added her afterword to prize those works as a possible opener for Czech authors into English speaking market.
Herewith my humble opinion on the stories without spoilers (hopefully):
The Dragon Star: I got very mixed feelings from this story. It is like a kaleidoscope of various pictures which do not stick together. The sentences are too complicated (maybe the chosen translation language harmed the original story) and the story-line is chaotic. I have to admit it bored me to the bones. 2-3/5
The real one: sad story about the future which could really happen. On the relatively small space, the author told us a tale in two levels pointing out the whereabouts of unwanted people and how they end. 4/5
Axes on Viola: a bit weird sci-fi full of repetitive environment descriptions that did not help to my imagination. A map will be more helpful or even desired. I cannot very well visualize what is happening (not only environment but the action) in the story as well. The story-lines and heroes doing are sinking into logical holes. The English here is a bit strange and complicated for me. 2-3/5
War games: finally, an excellent sci-fi military story told from the views of three characters in different personal situations and levels. I like the twist at the end as well. Moreover, the translation is fluent and easy to comprehend. 5/5
Winning is not everything: well written and another very sad tale about possible future (maybe present as well) sports and the greed of sponsors. 4/5
Creators: hard space opera about the secrets of wormholes set mostly on dialog between two scientists during interstellar travel. 5/5
The symphony of ice and dust: good classy space opera about expedition to “unknown” planet. However, still many causal questions remained non-addressed after the reading. 4/5
Mycelium : an excerpt (pity that it is too short) of the Mycelium saga just offered a brief insight into its environment. However, this chosen translated part is not so easy to visualize. The description in the postscript is quiet helpful. 3/5
Spark of thought: what?! An alternative history about famous Nikola and very famous writer (I will not blab out his name here - read yourselves) placed in Victorian Prague, sex and passion included. 4/5
Hexagramaton: I've read this story in original Czech some years ago and I have to admit that I was lost then as I’m now. Maybe the physic could work but not the biological part of it. Simply, I do not believe it. The motivations of characters are weak and non-logical. The visualization is not working for me at all. I just did not understand. 2/5
Overall note 3/5.