I read a story of Ballingrud's in Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales and he was one of the author's I liked well enough to really remember afterward, I...moreI read a story of Ballingrud's in Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales and he was one of the author's I liked well enough to really remember afterward, I really became a fan. I wanted to read more of his short stories but at the time the way to do that was to get this book and it wasn't out yet. And I was disappointed to see that it was being published by a small press and I didn't think my library would be getting it. I'm so thrilled to see that since it's release the collection has been nominated for several awards, including but not necessarily limited to the BFSA, the Shirley Jackson Award and the World Fantasy Award. Pretty impressive for an author's first collection! And lucky for me, I was wrong. First, Tor.com released a story from the book, "The Monsters of Heaven," so I got a small taste now. And I just saw that my library does have the book on order, so I'll get to return to the collection soon and read the rest of it.
Monsters was dark and weird and sad. It was very rooted in the reality of what happens between a couple when a child is lost, but it added the element of something happening out in the world, these "angels" arriving, and how one specific angle would impact the dynamic between this devastated couple. I'm looking forward to seeing if there's any pattern or connection between his stories, if the monsters are as often human as otherworldly. (less)
I was only able to read Tansy Rayner Roberts' story now, but I'd love to read the whole book at some point. Roberts' story was fun, an adaptation of T...moreI was only able to read Tansy Rayner Roberts' story now, but I'd love to read the whole book at some point. Roberts' story was fun, an adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe but with a twist. It made good use book's theme of of one small step. It's interesting to find this adaption from her since I'm currently reading her weekly serial adaptation of The Three Muskateers as well, which has the twists of gender swapping and being science fiction. I guess she likes to think about how to make old stories fresh again, like so many authors who've written reinterpreted fairy tales.(less)
So far I've only read One of Our Bastards Is Missing by Paul Cornell. It's a Hugo nominated novelette and his second entry into his Jonathan Hamilton...moreSo far I've only read One of Our Bastards Is Missing by Paul Cornell. It's a Hugo nominated novelette and his second entry into his Jonathan Hamilton series of short fiction. But a lot of the stories in the book look great. Unfortunately my library system doesn't have it, but I'll try to see if I can find some of the stories online.(less)
Turns out I've already read two terrific stories from this book, Kiss Me Twice by Mary Robinette Kowal and Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Val...moreTurns out I've already read two terrific stories from this book, Kiss Me Twice by Mary Robinette Kowal and Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente. These two were nominated for numerous awards and actually deserved the recognition, they're great stories. I was already planning to read Aliette de Bodard's The Shipmaker very soon as well. So I've got a head start on what could be a very good book, if these three are any indication. It may be some time until I'm able to get back to the whole book though.(less)
E.J. Swift's story Saga's Children was nominated for the British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Short Fiction in 2014. It's the only story...moreE.J. Swift's story Saga's Children was nominated for the British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Short Fiction in 2014. It's the only story in the book that I've read so far, though the book looks great and I hope to get to it soon. I'm a bit overwhelmed with short fiction at the moment. If you'd like to read Swift's story it's also posted online, at least as of the time of this review.
Saga's Children was a pretty good story most of the way through, the kind of story people who vote for stories to win awards seem to like. There was some angst, some not at all subtle thoughtfulness. Then the author totally ruined it at the end by putting this totally unrelated thing in. The story is about the kids of an astronaut dealing with their relationships to each other and with their mother. It takes place on the Moon and Mars and Ceres. Then suddenly in the very last two paragraphs it's talking about women looking for people buried beneath the tundra in Siberia with ice picks. It's so melodramatic, it's ridiculous and totally unnecessary. It felt like the author had that image in her mind all along and then wrote the story to try to justify using it, or always wanted to use it and convinced herself that it worked here. But it just didn't work, not for me anyway, the story didn't need it at all and it actually really distracted from the rest of it. It's just hanging there at the end of the relatively decent story, taking it from a bit eye-rolling and dramatic to oy yoy I can't believe she just went there. It was an OK story, but I have a feeling that when I get to read the rest of the book it won't be my favorite in the book. It wasn't my favorite in the BSFA group this year. I didn't get to read the winner, Spin, because it's from a small press and too hard to get. I liked Selkie Stories Are for Losers a bit better than this, it wasn't my favorite but it was fine. Boat in Shadows, Crossing was the fourth nominated story and I really liked that one. (less)
The summation at the beginning was interesting. A little paternalistic, but interesting, and useful as...moreThis one is going to take a long time to read!
The summation at the beginning was interesting. A little paternalistic, but interesting, and useful as a source Coe finding great stories. When I go over it again my to-read list will grown even longer.
I already read a couple of the stories in this book. I really enjoyed Aliette de Bodard's The Waiting Stars, set in her Xuya universe. It was nominated for the Hugo Award (results not in yet) and won the Nebula Award. Val Nolan's The Irish Astronaut was nominated for the Sturgen Award, but I wasn't too find of it.
I just read Robert Reed's Precious Mental, which was nominated for a Locus Award, and really enjoyed it. It was set in his Great Ship universe, my first story of his in that series. It was one of those stories that proves that award-nominated stories can actually be fun, they don't all have to be dark and dreary. Too bad that none of the around two dozen other stories in the series are online at this point. -- Update already! Reed put The Greatship out at the end of 2013. It has 12 Great Ship stories that he edited and rewrote, and added new materials to bridge the centuries between the stories. It's very reasonably priced as an ebook ($5 or less), hard to resist for someone like me who gets sucked into an intriguing series and wants to read more right away. Of course I reserved Marrow, the full length book, too.
The book is due back at the library. I may get one or two more stories in before it has to go back. My kindle is full, so I'm trying to resist buying it, but it's a great book, it would be well worth the price.
I started this book a year ago when The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi was nominated for the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novelette, and a whole bunch...moreI started this book a year ago when The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi was nominated for the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novelette, and a whole bunch of other awards. I never got back to it after reading that story before it was due back to the library, but this year I got into reading short stories and I'm going back through a lot of the award lists for the last few years. I saw that Elizabeth Bear's story was nominated for a Locus Award in 2013 as well so I reserved the book again. Unfortunately I still didn't get to it quickly enough so it's back to the library again, but this time I really will get back to it before another year is out! The entire book was nominated for best anthology by the Locus Awards and it does look like one that I'd enjoy. Soon.
Pat Cadigan - The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi - I really enjoyed the story. I actually kind of remember reading it, which is unusual. I liked the characters and the set-up, and I could see why it was nominated. Much less depressing than most nominated stories, sort of. Really. It definitely fit the theme of the book too, it was a great way to start it off.
Elizabeth Bear - The Deeps of the Sky - A very good story, rich in detail about the setting and a fascinating glimpse of who these other people might be. A brief first contact story. On her site Bear described it as, "a fable of the perils and pitfalls of sky-mining gas giants… but not only that." io9 still has the story online if you'd like to read just it.
-- I liked Bear's story much more than Mantis Wives by Kij Johnson, nominated for both the Hugo and Lotus Awards, I just didn't get that one. I did like I like Mono no Aware by Ken Liu a lot, that's the one that won the Hugo. I also liked Immersion by Aliette de Bodard quite well, which won the Lotus Award (they seem to get it right a lot). Between that story and The Waiting Stars I discovered that she's written more than a dozen stories in her Xuya universe so I'm going to try to read all of them, many are posted online for free. She has a bibliography with a timeline and many links on her website. Ursula K. Le Guin's story Elementals , also nominated for the Lotus Award, was cute. It was nice to read a story that was clever and charming without being so damn serious, though you could get deep with it if you were trying, I'm sure. Maybe that's what Kij Johnson's was supposed to be too, they're kind of similar in structure actually, but it wasn't for me. All of these stories are available online.
OK, enough off topic rambling and notes that are really for myself. I'll get back to the actual book review eventually.(less)
listening to this in the car. Mark Hamill is the reader and he is very good. I really feel like I'm listening to kids. The pace is fast and the story...morelistening to this in the car. Mark Hamill is the reader and he is very good. I really feel like I'm listening to kids. The pace is fast and the story is cute so far.(less)