Laura's Reviews > Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2011 Edition

Some of the Best from Tor.com by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
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Mar 01, 12

bookshelves: sci-fi, collection-anthology, own-ebook, free, paranormal, fantasy, fantasy-creatures, space-the-final-frontier
Read from February 22 to March 01, 2012

The short stories contained within this collection are incredibly varied in style, substance and quality. And I’d never read anything from any of these writers (unless we’re counting Charlie Jane Anders’ posts on io9).

There were some stories I was happy that I had read. But there were some that I definitely could have done without, either because I didn’t like the writing style, I didn’t like the characters or I just didn’t care for the plot. But that is the risk you run when you read a collection like this.

There were three incredibly strong pieces in this, two that were interesting but felt very incomplete, and two I may not have even bothered to finish.

Overall, well worth it, especially considering it was free!

Six Months, Three Days
An interesting take on what happens if the two people in a relationship both have a sort of ability to see the future and they know that their relationship is going to end poorly. The story is one of free will vs. fate. And while I enjoyed reading it, I had a problem with the dialogue, which I thought was fake sounding.

The Dala Horse
I had no idea where this story was going when I started it, and I finished it with a multitude of questions. It was an interesting read, but I felt like so much was not answered.

A Clean Sweep with all the Trimmings
I’ll admit that I couldn’t read this at all. I don’t like the style of writing and I didn’t care for the little bit of the story I did read.

Beauty Belongs to the Flowers
A long, beautiful story of a cyberpunk Japan. The technology available fascinated me. But more so, I enjoyed the interactions between the people. The youth of Japan, embracing very modern ways, vs. the older generations, who are more respectful and do not approve of the fake worlds people live in as a result of their technology. However, I did not like the very end. It creeped me out, but not in a good way. In a sort of disgusting way.

A Vector Alphabet of Interstellar Travel
A look at various alien cultures in the galaxy. These are incredibly creative. However, they are unconnected to one another and read more like the appendix to a really great space opera rather than anything that can stand on its own.

Ragnarok
I’ll admit that I have problems with epic poems, but there have been ones I loved in the past. This is not one of them. I had trouble getting into it, and I had trouble paying attention the whole way through.

Hello Moto
Another story that seems like a snippet of a larger novel. It very interesting, but overall too short. I would like some more, please. We don’t get enough background of who the women are, but we know that one of them created something that they could use for good, and, as happens, two of them choose to use it selfishly.

Shtetl
Easily the best of the bunch. This is the story of a world where Hitler succeeded. The Jews have been wiped out, and the Reich rules the world. Since there are no more Jews, the Reich has chosen to create little villages with actors (like those annoying ones from frontier villages or something), who do not break from their roles while in the village. They live out the lives of Jews while tourists come and gawk at this extinguished people. The actors do their jobs so well, that they have to admit to themselves that there is no longer a difference between the characters they place and the people they are outside of the village.
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