An exemplary anthology. There is not a single weak or even mediocre story here and many of the works included rank among the finest tales in the canonAn exemplary anthology. There is not a single weak or even mediocre story here and many of the works included rank among the finest tales in the canon. This is an absolutely essential read for anyone who loves speculative fiction.
(Parenthetically, I am thrilled my little participation in the Kickstarter that helped bring about this volume contributed to something so fine. My money has rarely been so well spent!)...more
More like 2 1/2 stars. For me, this was the least impressive and the least convincing of the four Apollo Quartet books. Despite the fact that the charMore like 2 1/2 stars. For me, this was the least impressive and the least convincing of the four Apollo Quartet books. Despite the fact that the characters hewed closely to reality, I found them curiously cardboard, too stereotypical to have much depth or appeal. The conceit that science fiction was a woman's genre, somewhat similar to romance today, didn't work well in a world otherwise unaltered, and the occasional author-intrusions were crude and ineffective, slowing the story down, throwing the fictional characters out of focus, while adding nothing of any consequence.
A disappointing end to an otherwise worthy series....more
With a half star rating system, this would be 2 1/2 stars rather than 3.
Tedious, talky, and clumsily written, this drowns good ideas in leaden dialogWith a half star rating system, this would be 2 1/2 stars rather than 3.
Tedious, talky, and clumsily written, this drowns good ideas in leaden dialogue and cod philosophy. All too often, it reads like a poor translation of substandard Dostoevsky updated to the cyber era by a middling undergrad theology student. In fact, if this hadn't been nominated for a Nebula award in 1996 and been so often declared a minor classic in years since, I would have DNFed this at 50% when it became clear this story was going nowhere fast. I'll remember to trust my instincts and discount awards next time. ...more
I really, really wanted to love this, but overall this special edition of Lightspeed is just OK.
The best stories here are reprints: Tiptree's hauntingI really, really wanted to love this, but overall this special edition of Lightspeed is just OK.
The best stories here are reprints: Tiptree's haunting "Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death", Eleanor Arnason's charming take on Bashō, "Knapsack Poems" (although this strikes me more as fantasy than science fiction), and Maureen McHugh's novella "The Cost to Be Wise", which would eventually be expanded into her fine novel, 'Mission Child'.
None of the new work is anywhere near as strong but the opening story by Seanan McGuire, "Each to Each" is compelling (at least, after a few terribly clunky initial paragraphs) and I also found N.K Jemisin's "Walking Awake" a thoughtful piece. "Dim Sun" (Maria Dahvana Headley) is great fun, especially if you're a foodie like I am, "The Sisterhood of Ick" by Charlie Jane Anders felt a little manipulative but was still a pretty good read, and I enjoyed Rhonda Eikamp's "The Case of the Passionless Bees", an sfnal take on Sherlock Holmes, despite the fact that it contained no real mystery at all. But the other new pieces were less engaging and many felt rather tired and predictable, a judgment I found taking hold more deeply as I moved into the flash fiction and the many essays. Only Pat Murphy's passionate, articulate histories of the Tiptree award and Kameron Hurley's justly praised 'We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle, and Slaves Narrative' had much to offer beyond bland exhortations to keep on keeping on...or something.
Again, none of this is bad (well...OK, a couple of pieces here are bad but I'm being nice and really they're just a tiny blip in a larger whole), but so much of it feels tired and over-done and kind of stale. Not very destructive or revolutionary. There are just so many damn good, really fresh and exciting female SF writers out there that I can't help but wonder why they're not present in this anthology. I know these things take time and commissioning work is a crap-shoot but where are the writers like Catherynne Valente, Aliette de Bodard, Yoon Ha Lee, L. Timmel Duchamp, Joan Slonczewski, Gwyneth Jones, Vandana Singh, Andrea Hairston and others? These are women who are not just "destroying" science fiction as we know it but rebuilding it in new and beautiful, previously unknown forms. I wish this volume had focused more on writers like these and less on the same old stuff written with different third-person pronouns. ...more
A very interesting story with a well-built sadly world hampered by pedestrian prose and uneven pacing. This would have been much better at half the leA very interesting story with a well-built sadly world hampered by pedestrian prose and uneven pacing. This would have been much better at half the length with half the detail (the pharma biz stuff is needlessly prominent and Tatian's inner musings in the first third of the book are nearly as pointless). I'd still recommend this for readers looking for queer-focused science fiction, though....more