Cover image for Stars : original stories based on the songs of Janis Ian
Stars : original stories based on the songs of Janis Ian
Ian, Janis, editor.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : DAW Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
xi, 544 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS648.S3 S74 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Janis Ian has inspired fans for years with her lyrical and evocative music. Now, this popular music legend has invited her favorite science fiction and fantasy writers to interpret her songs using their own unique voices. The result is the most unusual and exciting collaboration in the worlds of both science fiction-fantasy and music.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The undercurrent here is mutual admiration. Coeditor Ian, the socially conscious singer-songwriter whose greatest hit was the 1960s interracial dating anthem "Society's Child," is a longtime sf fan who, at Anne McCaffrey's urging, started attending the annual World Science Fiction Conference and met several of her literary heroes, many of whom liked her work as much as she did theirs. So coeditor Resnick proposed asking them to create stories inspired by Ian's songs. Some pretty big names responded, maybe not with their best-ever stories, but hardly with junk. Kage Baker's historical chiller, "Nightmare Mountain," would sit as honorably in Gathering the Bones (reviewed in this issue). David Gerrold's sketch of impending puberty in space, "Riding Janis," is also the premier hard-sf entry. Diane Duane's creepy essay in art criticism, "Hopper Painting," proves the most stylish contribution, but Howard Waldrop's golden oldies nightmare, "Calling Your Name," and Harry Turtledove's worst-case scenario for the American 1930s, "Joe Steele," are stylish, too, though very differently. Stars are supposed to entertain; here they live up to expectations. --Ray Olson Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This dazzling, highly original anthology, ignited by the meeting of songwriter Ian and a host of SF writers affected by her music at the 2001 Worldcon, showcases 30 mostly superior stories, each based on one of her songs. Some contributors take Ian at her word that science fiction is "the jazz of prose," responding to many of society's sharpest wounds with bittersweet improvisatory descants, like Terry Bisson in "Come Dance with Me," David Gerrold in "Riding Janis" and Orson Scott Card in "Inventing Lovers on the Phone," tales that probe the angst of adolescence. Spider Robinson, in "You Don't Know My Heart," like Gerrold in "Riding Janis," deals with the societal rejection gays and lesbians often face; "Immortality," by Robert J. Sawyer, and "Society's Stepchild," by Susan R. Matthews, respond to Ian's poignant "Society's Child," a plea for genuine racial tolerance; Stephen Baxter's "All in a Blaze" and Nancy Kress's brilliant "EJ-ES" confront the pain of aging; and several alternative-world tales, especially Harry Turtledove's powerful "Joe Steele" and Howard Waldrop's "Calling Your Name," explore the entrapment of the individual by sociopolitical forces engendered by materialism. The entire anthology seems to vibrate with the death throes of one world passing away, while far stranger ones struggle to be born. Their commonality, Ian tells us in her introduction, is that "They have heart. They have life. They have truth." No artist-nor any reader-could ask for more. (Aug. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A Herald of Valdemar and her former lover risk their lives to save others in Mercedes Lackey's "On the Other Side," while in Tanith Lee's "Two Faces of Love," that greatest of emotions receives a surprising examination. These tales, together with 28 others (all original), pay tribute to one of contemporary music's most thoughtful songwriters. Based on songs by Janice Ian, these stories by the genre's elite encompass a range of styles, from dark fantasy to cyberfiction, with stops along the way for space adventure, high fantasy, and vampire tales. Contributors include Nancy Kress, Spider Robinson, Harry Turtledove, and others united in their admiration for Ian's lyrics. Most libraries will want to add this to their short story collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Janis IanTerry BissonTad WilliamsJoe HaldemanJane YolenJohn VarleyMercedes LackeyKage BakerGregory BenfordTanith LeeRobert J. SawyerRobert ScheckleySusan R. MatthewsBarry N. MalzbergMike ResnickJanis IanKristine Kathryn RuschStephen BaxterAlexis GillilandSusan CasperNancy KressSpider RobinsonDavid GerroldJudith TarrDiane DuaneKay KenyonSharon Lee and Steve MillerHoward WaldropDean Wesley SmithHarry TurtledoveOrson Scott Card
Introductionp. 1
Come Dance with mep. 9
The Scent of Trumpets, the Voices of Smokep. 28
Finding my Shadowp. 48
Ride me Like a Wavep. 66
In Fading Suns and Dying Moonsp. 72
On the Other Sidep. 93
Nightmare Mountainp. 109
On the Edgep. 146
Two Faces of Lovep. 165
Immortalityp. 189
Hungerp. 199
Society's Stepchildp. 219
Murdering Stravinsky or Two Sit-Downs in Parisp. 247
Society's Goyp. 257
Second Person Unmaskedp. 268
Play Like a Girlp. 279
All in a Blazep. 292
Cartoonsp. 302
Old Photographsp. 305
Ej-Esp. 319
You Don't Know my Heartp. 342
Riding Janisp. 363
East of the Sun, West of Acousticvillep. 377
Hopper Paintingp. 403
An Indeterminate Statep. 423
This Housep. 437
Calling your Namep. 455
Shadow in the Cityp. 471
Joe Steelep. 489
Inventing Lovers on the Phonep. 505