Jonathan Strahan is a World Fantasy Award award-winning editor, anthologist, and podcaster. He has edited more than 70 books, is reviews editor for Locus, a consulting editor for, and co-host and producer of the Hugo-nominated Coode Street Podcast.

Mission Critical edited by Jonathan Strahan


Life is fragile. The difference between success and failure can come down to nothing – the thread of a screw, the flick of a switch – and when it goes wrong, you fix it... or someone dies.

Mission Critical takes us from our world, across the Solar System, and out into deep space to tell the stories of people who had to do the impossible. And do it fast.

Featuring stories by Peter F. Hamilton, Yoon Ha Lee, Aliette de Bodard, Greg Egan, Linda Nagata, Gregory Feeley, John Barnes, Tobias S. Buckell, Jason Fischer & Sean Williams, Carolyn Ives Gilman, John Meaney, Dominica Phetteplace, Allen M. Steele, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Peter Watts.




THEY CAME FOR us when we were seven years and nine months out from our Jupiter slingshot.

We didn't know until the kinetic slugs hit our long-range communication arrays. Biodes hurried efficiently over the Shepherd Tree's trunk, carrying cameras that showed smashed composite struts and torn metal and ruined electronic systems. The crew's emergency engineering team started to put on their spacesuits.

It was a strange impact, we muttered among ourselves. Two different places along the trunk, each inside a second of each other. How could meteorites travel so close together?

We didn't know the marauders were there. Their hull was stealthed; death-black, radar and laser absorbent. All the onboard heat generated by human bodies and humming electrical systems was pumped into tanks full of methane ice, so it had no infrared signature as their ship hurtled in towards us.