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3.49  ·  Rating details ·  358 ratings  ·  142 reviews
An intimate first flight of short fiction from award-winning novelist Jo Walton (Among Others, The King’s Peace).

A strange Eritrean coin travels from lovers to thieves, gathering stories before meeting its match. Google becomes sentient and proceeds toward an existential crisis. An idealistic dancer on a generation ship makes an impassioned plea for creativity and survival
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by Tachyon Publications (first published January 23rd 2018)
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3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  358 ratings  ·  142 reviews

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Jo Walton
Sep 12, 2017 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
It's a mix really. I've never found short fiction easy, and I've only relatively recently figured out how to do it at all. I'm frankly amazed that over seventeen years I've amassed enough for a collection. So there's a range of quality in the stories here. There's also a play I like a lot, and some recent poems. I'm quite pleased with some of the stories, actually. And they gave me such a great cover, I love the cover.

Do you want to read this? It seems more likely than that I would, after all, y
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was delighted to find out that I could read and enjoy Jo Walton's first short story (and poetry) collection on Netgalley and saving it just in time for xmas. I do that with authors I really enjoy. The fact is, Ms. Walton has taste. Granted, I've only read three of her books before now, with this one making number four, but trust has been earned.

What else should I expect from someone who reads copiously and discerns with great verve?

But then there comes the introduction. She admits to experime
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, fantasy, fiction
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I always find short stories to be an eclectic mix of good and bad, and this was no exception, with some poetry and plays thrown in for good measure.

Starlings covers the more folk and myths aspect of stories with a wide variety of settings, from a travelling coin who exchanges hands from thieves to lovers, to a retelling of Snow White (which I think was my favourite). There's even a story about artificial intelligence and the conce
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I have wanted to read Jo Walton's novels for a while now and I can definitely say that after this collection of short stories that I am more excited than ever. As is sadly often the case with short story collections there were a few stories that did not work for me and a few poems that didn't either, however, the stories I liked, I adored.

Jo Walton has a way of choosing pitch perfect voices for her stories and they all sounded completely different depending on the genre she chose. She tells stor
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. While not every short story is stellar, there were a few that I particularly liked, and a few that I wish Jo Walton would expand into longer stories. Stories That stuck with me were:
-Three Twilight Tales
-Jane Austen to Cassandra
-The Panda Coin
-At the Bottom of the Garden
-I can't remember the title, but the story is about people on a generation ship headed to a planet
-Three Shouts on a Hill (A Play)
Jo Walton has one of the most beautiful writings I have ever came across (Robin Hobb is the only one who can surpass her, from my PoV). I loved My Real Children and I hoped to enjoy this one just as much. However, no matter how beautiful she writes, the stories are on the ‘too lyrical’ side for me.

Half of the book consists in poems (which I did not read) and the other half in short stories. I read five of them and stopped. I just could not get into them.

One story is a version of Snow White, t
Sarah Marie
Starlings by Jo Walton

3 stars

This is Jo Walton’s first short story collection and she prefaces this collection with acknowledging that she isn’t very good at right short stories. I think that it is important to keep that in mind when embarking into this collection. Not all of these stories are good, in fact an awful lot of them are… well, awful. It is a horrible collection and I have read for worse, but this isn’t a particularly strong collection. Starlings is comprised of short stories, a play,

Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
* This was sent to me by the publisher for an honest review *

I was really quite excited to receive this book as I have read Jo Walton's work before and enjoyed some of it greatly. However, I also knew that some of her work wasn't really my cup of tea, and I wanted to try out her short fiction to see what worked for me and what didn't. This is a collection of 21 very short pieces, and also 15 poems at the end of the book too. It's quite a mixture of topics, with themes of supercomputers, ancient
Sherwood Smith
As a kid, I and my sibs had candy so seldom that I could make a pack of M&Ms last for weeks, allowing myself one a day. I’d nibble that single candy with my front teeth so that it took longer to enjoy, until it began to melt in my fingers.

I have the same approach to short pieces of fiction I know I’m going to enjoy, and so it was with Starlings, Jo Walton’s collection of short work.

I say ‘short work’ because it’s not merely short stories. In fact, Walton claims in the introduction that there
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Starlings was my first real dive into Walton's short stories and poetry. Ultimately it felt like a mishmash of stories I liked and pieces that didn't really feel like short stories. With Walton's own commentary about learning to write short stories, this collection naturally drew my attention to that question: "What IS a short story?"

A few of the stories really worked for me, but some others just didn't gel, or felt a little stale. For example, do we really need a sci fi lite version of the "why
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jo Walton is a delightful human being and a gifted author, but she's known almost entirely for her novels. The only non-novel works that I have read of hers was her collection of essays ABOUT novels. When this collection was announced, I was like, WHAAAAT? She does short stories too?

But it turns out that she doesn't. Or, not usually, anyway!

She explains in the introduction that she has tried many times, but all her short stories turn into novels or just don't really work. So it's over many yea
Peter Tillman
Jo Walton's first collection. She says up front that she's not much of a short-story writer, and indeed most of the stories are vignettes, often humorous. They’re all worth reading. And there are two major stories here:

“Sleeper” (2014), Good, solid sfnal extrapolation. How biographers might work, a little further up the line, if the tech gets better and society gets grimmer. Amazing character-creation in a short story. Wonderful twist-ending. Pretty near perfect. Go read it!
***Note: I received a copy curtesy of Netgalley and Tachyon in exchange for an honest review.

The only thing that unites this collection is the author: the short stories are diverse, ranging from fairytale-like to SF, but all were entrancing and written with a lyrical voice that I liked quite a lot.
I must confess I was afraid of the poetry part, but the poems read more like ballads, and I was glad to find them enjoying.

I also liked the personal touch – after each work, she says a few words about
Part of me wishes I had never requested this anthology of short stories, jokes, poetry, etc. I've long meant to read one of Walton's books (I have AMONG OTHERS on my shelf at the mo) and thought this would give me a glimpse into her writing or tease me to want to read other things she's written. Instead I was so bored I dropped my kindle on my face multiple times, skimmed, skipped, and put it down to do any possible other activity but read. Sadly the good intentions I had when starting STARLINGS ...more
Received to review via Tachyon; publication date 30th January 2018

It’s no secret that I love Jo Walton’s work, and I’d better add here that I’ve spent time with her as well — I’d call her a friend. Still, I knew her work first, and this is a fun collection. Jo may say she doesn’t know how to write short stories, but all the same everything here works pretty well. I only knew ‘Relentlessly Mundane’ and some of the poetry before, I think. It was nice to re-encounter the poetry here and spend some
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, short-stories
2.5 ★★
«They chose to have a universe with stories, and there are no stories in utopia.»

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Starlings by Jo Walton is a collection of 21 fiction short stories and 15 poems in which we can appreciate not only the wonderful writing style of the author but also her magnificent ability to build many and different genres such as epic fantasy, sci-fi and general fiction. Even though this was my first time rea
Faith (BookSelf ~ You Are What You Read)
I received this eARC from Tachyon Publications on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

DNF'd at 17%

Honestly, it really just isn't my thing. I usually like short stories but these just don't feel genuine.
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
Sadly not my thing at all. I can’t say I fully got the point of these stories.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I finished a book! Which is great, because I'm behind on my goals for collections of short fiction (of which I'm supposed to read five this year, and I'm at, um, three I think), on my goals for this month (meh), on reading stuff for NetGalley and on everything else.

I was able to read this collection courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley; my opinion is mine.

Starlings is Jo Walton's first collection of short prose fiction. I have by now read quite a few of her novels and some nonfiction, enjoyin
Lili  Marcus
May 16, 2018 marked it as to-read
eARC from publishers ... thank you..
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley. The opinions are entirely my own.

This is unmistakeably a Walton collection. Even if it didn't have Walton's name on the cover, I would be able to tell it is her by the style, the voice, the sensibility. In the introduction, Walton claims not to be able to write short stories, but there are some really successful ones here. I particularly enjoyed the brief retelling of Snow White ("On the Wall") and "Three Twilight Tales", a riff on fairytale-li
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Starlings is a collection of short stories, some hardly more than extended jokes, all with a sci-fi/fantasy bent. Some were entertaining, others confused me.

Most of the shorter works had an ironic twist a la Twilight Zone. Including a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, waylaid and delivered to the Greek myth Cassandra, who writes back to Jane.

I did not feel propelled to read these selections. I don't think they are 'my thing.'
Pallavi Sharma
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
This was the first time I got to read a short story collection on Magical realism, Aliens and anthology (!?). I liked the stories but not all. Some were too complex or too simple for me to understand, that is I am used to very straight forward stories. I am a dumb person in that matter. Plus the author was new to me and I was getting used to the style.

The Stories I liked:

1.Three Twilight Tales
2.Jane Austen to Cassandra- This was Funny!!
3.Unreliable Witness
4.The Panda Coin
5.Joyful and Tr
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
I got sent this book in exchange for a honest review, all my opinions are my own and thank you so much to the publishers for sending me this book!

I really enjoyed myself with these short stories, the collection was well written and well crafted.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read_in_2018
I read this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review

Jo Walton says in the introduction to this book that short stories are not her cup of tea. She explains that it is difficult for her to write a story from beginning to end in three pages or less. The short story books are not my thing honestly. I have a hard time going from one story to another every three pages. It is very uncomfortable for me and I don’t seem to advance much when reading. That’s what happened to me with this book.
Hélène Louise
I'd only read two of Jo Walton's books so far, but absolutely loved them and kept recommending them around me: "Among others" and "Tooth and claw" (the best Jane Austen's fan-fiction ever written!). I actually don't know why I waited so long to read another of her books, probably because some of the themes broached in them aren't some I like to read about... a shame and a wrong decision, probably. I will make an effort soon.

Well. When I discovered this collection from Jo Walton, and had the oppo
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
[I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.]
This is the first I’ve read by Jo Walton, although I had the pleasure to see her speak on a Tor panel at the ALA conference some time ago. She was entertaining and insightful, something I see reflected in this collection. It’s been a pleasure to finally get the chance to delve into one of her works. And what a work to begin with! It’s not in any fashion your typical collection of an author’s short stories, but it’s import
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
By the author's own admission, several of the "short stories" in this book are not actually stories. They're exercises in mode, or jokes, or the attempts of someone who knows how novels work but not how short stories work to write a short story.

This doesn't sound promising, but Jo Walton is such a good writer that she mostly gets away with it in any case. In fact, some of the stories have been published in prestigious publications like Strange Horizons and Subterranean. Unfairly, I occasionally
Alex Sarll
It's a curious experience to read a collection of short stories which insists it's nothing of the sort. But in a somewhat apologetic introduction that's just what Walton claims here. And on the one hand it's absurd - of course they're short stories, aren't they? But - with one or two exceptions, excitedly announced as proper short stories - she notes that most of them are something else. The beginning or end (or in one case, maybe either) of unwritten novels; exercises in voice; poems with the l ...more
Matt Braymiller
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jo Walton came to our local F&SF bookstore on February 22nd of this year. It was a snowy day and not a lot of people were out and about. Her train had been delayed, but the book shop owner waited and met her and we spent an enjoyable couple hours as Ms. Walton read to us from this book and talked about short fiction, poetry, world building and tea.

She admitted that (at least initially) she didn’t know how to write short stories. Her description of this is in the introduction of this collect
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  • Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories
  • Six Months, Three Days, Five Others
  • A Feast of Sorrows
  • Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories
  • Compulsory Games
  • Points of Departure: Liavek Stories
  • Young Woman in a Garden
  • Shoggoths in Bloom and Other Stories
  • Tender
  • The Best of Kage Baker
  • Golden Age and Other Stories
  • Straying From the Path
  • Between Worlds: The Collected Ile-Rien and Cineth Stories
  • At the Mouth of the River of Bees
  • Robots vs. Fairies
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Wicked Wonders
  • A Liaden Universe Constellation: Volume I
Jo Walton writes science fiction and fantasy novels and reads a lot and eats great food. It worries her slightly that this is so exactly what she always wanted to do when she grew up. She comes from Wales, but lives in Montreal.
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“You feel what you feel, and I feel what I feel, but that doesn't mean you have to fit us into a story and wreck both our lives.” 2 likes
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