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Consolation Songs: Optimistic Speculative Fiction For A Time of Pandemic

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  33 reviews

“For a while, we just slept and ate and told stories..."

A radio broadcast unites a scattered people; lockdown throws human and fey reluctantly together; a miner floats alone in the asteroid belt; a living ship rides out a storm.

In difficult times, stories sustain us. These twelve tales of selkies, hockey players, retired systems engineers, monsters, copyeditors and ch

Kindle Edition, 156 pages
Published June 30th 2020
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  101 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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K.J. Charles
What a lovely idea: a collection of sff stories with hope. Hope of survival, of things getting better, of people finding one another, of putting things right on a small or big scale.

Very high quality, with only a couple of stories that didn't land for me, and the Adrian Tchaikovsky made me cry in much the same way as the last shot of Grave of the Fireflies does. I really needed this.
Jun 30, 2020 is currently reading it  ·  (Review from the author)
Hooray! I'm so happy to be part of this fabulous anthology of optimistic f/sf stories (raising money for a fantastic cause). My short story, "Love, Your Flatmate," is a frothy, light-hearted fantasy rom-com about a harried young London editor, Emmeline Heatherton, and a haughty fey composer, Maximiliana Morgana, who are stuck together in a small flat during the lockdown to their mutual horror ... only to discover that they have far more in common than they'd realized! ;)

And the other authors in
Storm Story, by Llinos Cathryn Thomas:
Absolutely joyous, story of making it through a horrific storm, prototypical optimistic SF.

Girls who Read Austen, by Tansy Rayner Roberts:
I love everything Tansy Rayner Roberts writes, and this school story (of a saga of horrible roommates) is no different— it's funny and ends delightfully upbeat.

Upside the Head, by Marissa Lingen:
The story itself is only slightly optimistic, but the PREMISE (of an ability to regrow the amygdala after head trauma) is so exci
Natalie aka Tannat
Overall I'd say this was an okay collection, although there weren't any stories that I really loved. I thought several of the stories were good or interesting but didn't find any of them to be great. ...more
Francesca Forrest
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wrote mini-impressions for each story as I read it, so if you go to those you can see my specific reactions to each story, but overall the collection is excellent; I highly recommend it. There's not a bad story in it; even the ones that didn't grab my fancy are well-written, and looking around at other reviews I'd say that all the stories get love from *someone*, which is a good sign.

My personal favorite was “This Is New Gehesran Calling,” but I enjoyed most of the others immensely too.
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
this was a balm to my extremely tired and wounded soul
Sadie Slater
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Consolation Songs is billed as an anthology of optimistic speculative fiction for a time of pandemic. It's being sold in aid of the University College London Hospitals charity and features stories from two of my favourite comfort-reading authors (Tansy Rayner Roberts and Stephanie Burgis), two of my favourite podcasters (Lizbeth Myles of Verity!* and Freya Marske of Be The Serpent) and several other authors whose work I've read and enjoyed (Aliette de Bodard, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Iona Datt Sha ...more
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
This anthology of hopeful tales for Corona times is a wonderful, lovely thing - and has the added advantage of raising money for the COVID-19 appeal being run by the UCLH Charity, the charity supporting the University College London Hospitals NHS Trust.

I was particularly moved to tears (happy ones!) or laughter, or both, by the stories by Stephanie Burgis, Iona Datt Sharma, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Llinos Cathryn Thomas, and Rebecca Fraimow.
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
These are really really good! I ended up tearing up (in a good way) a bunch while reading them.
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
This was super; I actually really liked every single story in this anthology, which I think is a first.

Particular standouts were Iona Datt Sharma's St-Anselm-By-The-Riverside (they're always great, and I love getting an older protagonist, esp with a sweet beginning-romance and a nifty take on both alternate universes and climate change); Katie Rathfelder's Seaview on Mars which was super charming and a great piece that said as much through implication and inference as it did explicitly; there is
This collection of short stories was a joy! It was also the perfect antidote to the darkness we're all walking through this year. Some of my favorites are listed below:

Storm Story, by Llinos Cathryn Thomas: an uplifting story about people on a ship, voyaging to a new land that they hope to one day see, with magic lighting the ship and stories to carry the voyagers through the storms.

Seaview on Mars, by Katie Rathfelder: a wonderful story about an older couple moving into a retirement home, on Ma
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I bought this as a baby shower gift for my co-worker, along with a baby thing from list, because when I was having baby showers, it was lovely to get all the baby stuff, but no one gave Me anything. And I was thinking comforting spec fic stories are just the thing one wants to read with a new born. I read the book first, of course, to make sure it really was suitable, but very very carefully and then let it sit after wrapping to kill any germs. I did, however, run into a problem-I liked the stor ...more
This was less fluffy that I was expecting, more bittersweet, and I appreciated it for that. The stand-outs for me were the restrained prose of "Four" and the delicately balanced mosaic of "This Is New Gehesran Calling," but I also very much enjoyed "Storm Story," "Upside the Head," "Bethany, Bethany," "Seaview on Mars," "A Hundred and Seventy Storms," "Low Energy Economy, and "St Anselm-by-the-Riverside." So, everything, basically, and even the ones not listed above weren't bad stories, just not ...more
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I only listened to "Low Energy Economy" by Adrian Tchaikovsky through the LeVar Burton Reads podcast. In this speculative fiction short story, an asteroid miner on a solo space mission ruminates on his life as he mines for materials that Earth needs. He left his home hundreds of years ago, as he is put into hyper-sleep between landings, but he made the choice to take this job for his starving family would be fed for possible generations so long as his mining missions are successful. He is lonely ...more
Si Clarke
Storm Story by Llinos Cathryn Thomas
Quote: For a while, we just slept or ate or told stories when it wasn't too loud. The only way to know time was passing was by how hungry we got.
First-person tale with a nameless narrator, who seems very young. Dark times, with a hint of a light at the end of the erm… storm on a water-logged world.

Girls Who Read Austen by Tansy Rayner Roberts
Quote: All Scylla wanted from a college roommate was someone who wasn't too messy or too tidy. Maybe, if she was really
I was very eager to read this collection of short stories that were written with the express purpose of leaving the reader feeling like maybe we were going to survive this particular historical moment - through fantastical and speculative tales that have nothing to do with our current global catastrophe, of course. Really something I could use right now and when I read it. Some of the stories were decidedly not comforting, and left me feeling a little unsettled and wrong-footed, not the emotions ...more
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2020
I think this is one of the first short story collections I've ever read where I enjoyed every single story.

Standouts: This Is New Gehesran Calling (Rebecca Fraimow) was so comforting and fun and bittersweet - it was definitely my favorite of the stories in this book.

Four (Freya Marske), St Anselm-by-the-Riverside (Iona Datt Sharma) and Of a Female Stranger (Jeannelle M. Ferreira) all left me desperate for more. I really do hope at least one is expanded into a longer work - and preferably all t
Walter Underwood
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just what I needed now. One of the reasons I picked it up was the contribution from Aliette de Bodard—I'll read anything she writes. But all the stories were well-written and with one of them, I stopped in the middle and went back to check the author, because they could actually write (that was Iona Datt Sharma).

The stories have differing degrees and even definitions of optimism. A couple are making the best of a bad lot or a silver lining in storm cloud that is still destructive, but most are p
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Fantastic, imaginative and evenly high quality even though the stories were by all different authors of all different invented worlds. Although they are meant to be upbeat, and all end on a note that could be promising some kind of joy, these are not happy dappy. Most have an air of slight melancholy and thoughtfulness, reminding me of those days at the start of the pandemic when I suppose these were written.

Nearly every story is focused on a heroine or heroines, some are queer, most have some
Anna Livingston
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Absolutely did what it said on the tin: stories that ended optimistically even if the primary thread was somewhat less so. Particular favorites: Tansy Rayner Roberts' college/Greek mythology AU; Liz Myles' fairy tale; Aliette de Bodard's latest entry in her Xuya universe of living AI ships and their caretakers. ...more
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-fiction
Out of the twelves stories in this anthology, my favourites were "Low Energy Economy" by Adrian Tchaikovsky, "Four" by Freya Marske, and "St Anselm-by-the-Riverside" by Iona Datt Sharma.

"Love, Your Flatmate" by Stephanie Burgis was fun and I was amused by "Girls Who Read Austen" by Tansy Rayner Roberts which is really a vignette rather than a story but, well, I just like Austen.
Enjoyable anthology. I found some stories more hopeful than others, but I suppose a matter of perspective. I was already familiar with a number of the authors included, although I'd only read one of the stories previously, and I look forward to checking out the work of those new to me. ...more
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved nearly every story in this collection and can see myself reaching for it again when I need something comforting.

Particular favourites were:
- Seaview on Mars by Katie Rathfelder
- Four by Freya Markse
- This is New Gehesran Caliing by Rebecca Fraimow
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, rounding up to 4. I enjoyed the stories in the latter half of the anthology the most.
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A bit of a mixed bag in terms of quality, but there are some very good reads in here & it's for a good cause, so give it a whirl! ...more
Georgina Li
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent short story collection, highly recommend!
Fred Langridge
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sff
A lovely collection of short stories.
Kate  K. F.
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely anthology of speculative fiction that's hopeful. Some of the stories get kind of dark before the hope but that feels really true. I enjoyed being able to visit another worlds and see some better futures. Also the stories are all fairly short so easy to dip into and out of. ...more
Dec 16, 2020 rated it liked it
As with all short story collections, this was a mixed bag. Some were great, others I didn't like as much. Overall, generally optimistic so it did what it set out to do. ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: extra paragraph breaks in summary 3 12 Jun 30, 2020 09:59AM  

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I'm a British-Indian writer of speculative literary fiction. My debut short story collection, NOT FOR USE IN NAVIGATION, was released in March 2019.

FYI, my surname is "Datt Sharma", two words, but books listed on Goodreads under "Iona Sharma" are also me.

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Oh hey, we're nearly halfway through 2021! We can't really believe it either... Traditionally, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial...
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