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Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 124

(The Universe of Xuya - The Shipmaker)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  89 reviews
"The Ghost Ship Anastasia" by Rich Larson
"A Series of Steaks" by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
"Justice Systems in Quantum Parallel Probabilities" by Lettie Prell
"Interchange" by Gary Kloster
"Milla" by Lorenzo Crescentini and Emanuela Valentini, translated by Rich Larson
"Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance" by John Kessel
"The Shipmaker" by Aliette de Bodard

ebook, 150 pages
Published January 1st 2017 by Wyrm Publishing
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  288 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Start your review of Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 124 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #124)
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The newest twist on artificial beef and 3-D printing.

A solid short that contains a world, solid characterization, and a decent, if seemingly innocuous plot. I'd love to read more about Helena and Lily.

Four-and-a-half steaks, rounding up.
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Well, that was different! Thank you, Karen!

Read it free here:

Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing

boilerplate mission statement intro:

for the past two years, i’ve set december’s project aside to do my own version of a short story advent calendar. it’s not a true advent calendar since i choose all the stories myself, but what it lacks in the ‘element of surprise’ department it more than makes up for in hassle, as i try to cram even MORE reading into a life already overcrammed with impossible personal goals (live up to your potential! find meaningful work! learn to
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
4.5 stars. This excellent (and fun!) Nebula and Hugo award nominated novelette, by Singaporean author Vina Jie-Min Prasad, is free online here at Clarkesworld magazine. Definitely recommended! Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

In this near-future SF novelette, 3-D printing has become so advanced that a “bioprinter” can mass-produce copies of food. In any criminal forgery case, the best forgeries are the ones that never get noticed, and Helena Li Yuanhui of Splendid Beef Enterprises, a
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Series of Steaks

After reading this story, I’m seriously thinking not to eat beef anymore, lol.

Besides that, we get clever tech worldbuilding which, unfortunately, sounds very plausible in the very near future, a nice wrapped up plot, two badass women and a witty ending. 30 minutes well spent.

Can be read here:
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
***A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad***

This story was nominated for Best Novelette for both, the Hugos and Nebulas in 2018.

Helena wanted to study art in university, but that didn’t work out for spoilery reasons. She had to leave Hong Kong and does now design artificial beef for a company in Nanjing, using a false identity.
When she accepts a job by an anonymous client and hires a help for work, her past is catching up with her.

This is very well written short fiction with good
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-shelf, sci-fi
'18 Hugo nom for a shorter work!

And surprisingly enough for me, I've already read this one. :)

A great con-game story including fake designer meat that's printed out and a whole underworld of shady dealings, blackmail, and a bit of revenge. :) I do like this one a lot.

Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review for A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad

And the winner for odd titles goes to... a very meaty story. Fun. Humorous. Odd. I am not entirely sold on the concepts behind the story, but the world building and characterizations were top-notch for such a short piece.

Hugo Awards 2018 Novelette Nominee

I didn‘t like her other Hugo Award nominee quite as much, it was just ok: Fandom for Robots

Story can be found here:
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ok, I want more Helen and Lily.
Terrific short story on printing meat, blackmail, forgery, and friendship.
The Captain
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Loved, loved, loved this story. Everyone should read it. I don't want to discuss details because it is short and should be experienced for yerself. It can be found for free online and in audiobook formats on Clarkeworld Magazine by clicking this link. Arrrr!
Leo Robertson
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Solid collection of great writing. Interesting essays by Kelly Robson and Benjamin C. Kinney, cool interview with James S.A. Corey (who isn't actually one guy?! Who knew :P) and some excellent, thought-provoking fiction.

Clear standouts for me are:

— "A Series of Steaks" by Vina Jie-Min Prasad, which approaches the neocrime of food forgery from every possible angle, while creating compelling characters and wrapping up charmingly.

— "Justice Systems in Quantum Parallel Probabilities" by Lettie Prell
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
“All known forgeries are failures.”

Hilarious short story about a bio-forger in way over her head. Help comes from an unlikely addition to her “staff.”

“The trick is to not get ambitious.”

Well-developed short story with the reader learning bits as the plot progresses.

“There are so many ways for a forgeries to go wrong, and only one way it can go right.”

(2018 Hugo Award short story finalist. Illustration is cover of magazine in which story appeared; has nothing to do with story.)
That does it. Vina Jie-Min Prasad is my new favorite author. Knowing she's Singaporean is awesome since I could actually meet her one day. Definitely someone to watch in the upcoming years. And what a year for her so far! I loved her Fandom for Robot story and this novelette is as good and entertaining. I like that she likes to touch upon current issues and weaves it into a fun specfic narrative. This novelette is about someone who forges meat. Yes, fake food. Definitely not too farfetched since ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This novelette was short-listed for Hugo Awards 2018
An artist has to leave her studies in Hong Kong due to the unspecified threat and move to Nanjing. She took bio-printer with her and now she is creating fake beef that looks almost like the real thing. And now the threat catches up with her...
Quite interesting story with a punch line
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-freebie
I love this author. I was glued to every word and most of it was about making fake meat! Short freebie. 5 stars!
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A caper story, in which the caper involves forging artificial steaks. Entertaining, not deep, but with nice detail work and some sharp writing.
Eric Mesa
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great issue. As always Neil Clarke selects some pretty amazing stories for this issue.

The Ghost Ship Anastasia - It's the space trope no character is ever wise to - you DO NOT inspect a distress call on a space ship!

So of course things go pear-shaped. The specifics of this story involve ships run by AIs and an experimental Bioship in which the ship is partly metal and partly living matter.

A Series of Steaks - Very, very great fun story. This one by it self is worth the price of the issue.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
4ish stars.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Now I’m hungry...
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
Tremendous fun and really, really well-written.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, sci-fi-awards
Helena Li Yuanhui of Splendid Beef Enterprises is an expert in counterfeiting real beef with 3D bio-printed one. Her printed beef is perfect in texture, color, scent, and flavor. She is working hard to try to raise enough money to change her identity and escape from the past she is so hard trying to escape from... until one day, someone learn about it, and decides to blackmail Helena...
The world building is sublime: Helena's world is credible, futuristic, yet it contains many of the horror and
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So I've now read two stories by this author for the Hugos, and I have to say, I really like the style.
Lisa Feld
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A marvelous tale of forgery, with just the right details to give it that ring of verisimilitude. Manages to blend the cat-and-mouse suspense and intrigue of a good blackmail or heist story with the poetry of a tale of a frustrated artist remembering why they love their craft. I'm definitely going to reread this.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Vina Jie-Min Prasad continues to impress me with her adorable stories of unlikely friendships in gritty future settings. Of course deserved trust and intact humanity will continue to exist; I'm glad rich, charming vignettes like this one exist to counter overly cynical, and consequently unimaginative, works like most of Black Mirror. I'm going to read everything she writes.
Sue Burke
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was one of five finalists for Clarkesworld magazine’s 2017 Reader’s Poll. My story “Who Won the Battle of Arsia Mons?” was also a finalist. As soon as I read “A Series of Steaks,” I knew I was likely to lose. A woman in China agrees to make counterfeit beefsteaks for a client, then the deal starts to go sour. Three things impressed me: the quiet desperation of the main character, the philosophical musings about the art of forgeries, and the thoroughly satisfying ending. I voted for this ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read as part of my push to read more short fiction, I chose this back issue because it contained both a Nebula/Hugo nominated story, and a Xuya universe story by Aliette de Bodard (which I'm a personal fan of).

"The Ghost Ship Anastasia" by Rich Larson - : A well written example of a familiar trope, the derelict ship and it's resident AI as a sort of non-paranormal haunted house. This one uses a bio-ship, and so has some added body horror.

"A Series of Steaks" by Vina Jie-Min Prasad - : Nominated
Ken Richards
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars
The story is available at Clarkesworld here -

Vina Jie-Min Prasad has a fine way with words, and this clever story is a fine example. It examines just how far the world of 3D printing might go, and just what uses to which it might be put. Well. fakes and forgeries of course.

Well, forgery is one great business opportunity. And Helena Li Yuanhui needs the opportunities. It is just that she has got in well over her head, has a past which needs
"A Series of Steaks" by Vina Jie-Min Prasad and it was absolutely brilliant! I loved the idea about meat forgery with 3D printing technology. 5/5

"The Shipmaker" was a strange mixture of the futurism and the rigid Asian culture. The idea of the spirit of a living ship being the outcome of a pregnancy that have to be carried by a woman was mostly just creepy, and not in a good way. 3/5

"The Ghost Ship Anastasia" was genuinely scary. The mixture of a machine and a living organism, the plunge into
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great SF thriller, written the way a short story should be. There's not a lot of boring description, but the world pops anyway. Life is tough & not always fair, but some people can get by with a little help from their friends & hard work. Loved the way the forgery theme was worked in. Even though it was obviously coming, it still packed a punch.

I'm going to have to pay more attention to Clarkesworld. I got this as a free podcast, but if they do this sort of thing regularly, I'm going to
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
The Ghost Ship Anastasia by Rich Larson - There's more horror here than I prefer, and the main character is rather dis-likable and self-absorbed. Yet somehow the story was still okay -- I think the fast pace pulled me through.

A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad - This was a wonderfully charming and funny heist story. My only nitpicky quibble was that the secondary character Lily was almost eerily perfect.

Justice Systems in Quantum Parallel Probabilities by Lettie Prell - Some interesting
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Neil Clarke is best known as the editor and publisher of the Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning Clarkesworld Magazine. Launched in October 2006, the online magazine has been a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine four times (winning three times), the World Fantasy Award four times (winning once), and the British Fantasy Award once (winning once). Neil is also a seven-time finalist ...more

Other books in the series

The Universe of Xuya (1 - 10 of 43 books)
  • The Jaguar House, in Shadow
  • Asimov's Science Fiction, July 2010 (Asimov's Science Fiction, #414)
  • Space and Time, Summer 2010
  • The Lost Xuyan Bride
  • Interzone 213, December 2007 (Interzone, #213)
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection
  • Asimov's Science Fiction, August 2012
  • Anthology of European SF
  • Asimov's Science Fiction, February 2011
  • Interzone 231, November-December 2010 (Interzone, #231)