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Combustion Hour

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  110 ratings  ·  21 reviews
This story is about the eschatology of shadow puppets.
At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
ebook, 32 pages
Published June 18th 2014 by Tor Books
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3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  110 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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Maggie Gordon
Combustion Hour contains a lot of interesting imagery and some delightful prose, but there wasn't enough story for me to really sink into this piece. There was an interesting world in this short story, but the length of the piece just doesn't do it justice.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-fiction
This short story combines beautiful imagery with a haunting landscape of shadow puppets in a world where the lanterns are going dim. I loved how Lee brought hard science fiction concepts into a very fairy-tale-like world and just made it work (shadow spaceship, for one example). It took a little bit for me to get hooked, since I've never read anything like a 2D world that is conscious of the existence of a 3D world... but once I figured things out, the story really took off. And the ending was u ...more
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lee writes brilliant stories and this one is no exception. It's about shadow puppets trying to cope with the end of their world (the lanterns are going out). Second person and present tense can be a bit jarring but she pulls it off easily. Such beautiful imagery.
Alex Sarll
"This story is about the eschatology of shadow puppets." Entropy considered from a powerfully strange angle.
**✿❀  Maki ❀✿**
The imagery in the story was very pretty.


That's about all I can really say for the story.

The whole end-of-the-world, needs-of-the-many morality debate was fine, it just didn't hold my interest. I kept getting distracted by the prose. Or maybe it was the second person POV. Maybe it was a combination of both.

There is only a binary of colors in your existence, just as you are supposed to narrow everything into the binary of target and not-target. Nevertheless, your language has words for colors
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I want to give this 5 stars. And I want to give it a 1, simply because I'm furious at this story. Because of the second person point of view, which fits but I still hate it. Because it's too short. Because I want more. Because I see the parallels not only to the world of shadow puppets but to the heat death of our universe as well (which is mentioned in the story anyway).

And to a Dark Lord ending of Dark Souls, which is for some stupid reason very dear to me (even though I've never actually fini
Difficult not to mix this up in my head with the world of Ancillary Mercy, which I just finished reading. (Maybe too soon to move onto another book.) Still, Breq is the Knight is Breq, and Anaander Mianaai is the Queen is Anaander Mianaai, and their power struggle is strangely similar.

The asides about astronomy and physics were wonderful, emotionally affecting, and very imaginative, but the characters and their actions didn't make much sense, and they're not what's going to stay with me. That's
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
I feel like giving this only two stars is a bit harsh, because the writing really is quite lovely in spots. But. I just really did not enjoy this story. Maybe I read it too late at night, maybe it's too complicated for me to get, but I spent the entire span of time reading this trying to figure out if the characters actually were puppets or if it was supposed to be completely metaphorical and by the time I was finished, I was baffled and a little irritated. So if excessively opaque narratives ar ...more
Feb 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I am enjoying reading The Machineries of Empire series, and I was curious to read more stories by the same author. This one is quite intriguing, with fantastic two dimensional characters from the world of shadow puppets. I was left wondering if the story would have benefited from a longer format, to give more space to the world building and to the characters' histories.
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
The 2nd person style was a bit harder to follow, however it fit the 2 dimensional world in a way that nothing else would have.

This short story succeeded. It left me feeling like I had a glimpse into a world - the ending of a world - that while I would like to hear more of, I am also content with this glimpse. That is a hard thing to do.
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks-online, sff
If you're a genre person (by which I mean, science fiction, fantasy, and everything else along those lines), you should read this story. It is excellent. And it is a study in how to do 2nd person fiction.
Amy Mills
Odd extended metaphor for the heat death of the universe, told through (I think) figures on a 2-dimensional tapestry with a limited color palette. Beautifully written, very interesting, but very, very odd.
Bryn Hammond
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: imagined-fiction
A short that begins, This story is about the eschatology of shadow puppets. If you like that you'll like the rest.
Sara J. (kefuwa)
Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
" A heart isn’t what you have. It’s what you do.”
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
queen + knight.. my fav
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A heart isn’t what you have. It’s what you do
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
A heart isn’t what you have. It’s what you do.
The prose is stunning. I don't understand people who get annoyed with 2nd person POV. Can't believe I waited to read this for so long.
R.L. White
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales
A story about the heat death of the universe, as told by paper shadow puppet creatures, presented to the reader in a fairy tale. Yes it's as weird as it sounds.
Apr 16, 2018 added it
Shelves: short-stories
Too weird and out-there for me, I guess I didn't really get it?
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Yoon Ha Lee is an American science fiction writer born on January 26, 1979 in Houston, Texas. His first published story, “The Hundredth Question,” appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1999; since then, over two dozen further stories have appeared. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.