George R.R. Martin
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Reader's Thoughts:

Sandkings - Short stories of Charles R.R. Martin set in a common, future setting. There are a few transhuman elements and at least one story deals heavily with memetic engineering. The setting is largely distopic and harkens back to the gothic and romantic movements. Clades and norms are diverse and the alien civilizations (ancient and recent) are clustered so thick it is clear that Fermi never lived in this universe.

There are also heavy paranormal elements in some stories that are a quite a bit heavier than those of OA. Technology includes jump drives and similar things, much more along the lines of traditional space opera than Orions Arm setting. Also there are no AIs or similar beings used heavily in the stories. Still the tone, atmosphere, and smorgasbord of arcane and forgotten history presented in the book did seem in keeping with Orions Arm and might be of some inspiration.

Side note: a heavily modified version of the title story was used as an episode of "The Outer Limits". The rest of the book should not be judged on the basis of this story or the T.V. episode in particular.

Peter Kisner