Tag: Hugo Finalist

Jan 10 2019

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Stories of Your Life and Others left me cold, which surprised me for two reasons: first, because he has a reputation as an excellent writer, few stories but nearly every one a contender for major awards and often enough a winner; second, because I had enjoyed The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate so much. (That …

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Oct 15 2018

Words Are My Matter by Ursula K. Le Guin

Here is Ursula K. Le Guin on life in pre-Roe America: My friends at NARAL asked me to tell you what it was like before Roe vs. Wade. They asked me to tell you what it was like to be twenty and pregnant in 1950 and when you tell your boyfriend you’re pregnant, he tells …

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Aug 13 2018

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

One of the hard problems of writing far-future science fiction is just how strange humans of that era are likely to appear to present-day readers. Quite apart from the changes that technology and any move of setting from the terrestrial are likely to bring, the ways that societies change over time are likely to render …

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Aug 12 2018

Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee

Sometimes an author is much more interested in a major character than I am. Writing about Raven Stratagem, the second book in the Machineries of Empire series, I already noted that Lee’s interest in writing about Shuos Jedao was starting to exceed my desire to read more about him. Revelations late in the book showed …

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Jun 06 2018

Space Opera by Catherynne M Valente

Woof, and I thought LIFEL1K3 was gonzo. The good: I really loved the fact that the two main (human) heroes are both British Muslims tho of vastly different stripes. Catherynne M Valente does a killer job of imagining a future world and, particularly, a future England capable of producing a band as genre- and gender-bending …

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Jun 03 2018

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente — The B Side

In her “Liner Notes” to Space Opera, Catherynne Valente thanks, “however obliquely … Douglas Adams, or at least his ghost, who looms somewhat benevolently over all science fiction comedy.” He did more than just hover over my review, he provided the framework of the lead paragraph and set the tone for much of the rest …

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Jun 01 2018

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

Space Opera, I think, is wild. Really wild. You just won’t believe how strangely, weirdly, mind-bogglingly wild it is. I mean, you may think it was wild when Finnish heavy metal dudes in monster costumes won a continent-wide contest with “Chanson” in the name, but that’s just peanuts to Space Opera. After a while the …

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Apr 07 2018

Raven Stratagem (The Machineries of Empire #2) by Yoon Ha Lee

If you’re new to the Machineries Of Empire series, start with my review here. So when I first began reading this I thought, “Wait, what, my memory must really be going because this is totally different from what I remembered of the ending of Ninefox Gambit.” Then I got through over half of the book …

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Dec 08 2017

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

What has stayed with me in the months since I read The Ballad of Black Tom? The sense of teeming New York in the 1920s, the deft characterizations of the divides among black and white, the delicious irony of seeing an H.P. Lovecraft tale told from a black point of view. The story is eventually …

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Dec 07 2017

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

In A Taste of Honey Kai Ashante Wilson tells a love story spanning decades in a fantastic world that looks much like the ancient Mediterranean. One of the lovers is a soldier from an empire that resembles Rome, the other is a young member of a noble house in a North African polity. (I don’t …

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