Egypt, Cairo, Djinn, ghuls, sorcerers, magic, airships, gas light, aerial trams… steampunk plus electricity. An investigator looks into the suspicious death of a djinn and follows traces through a magical Cairo.
“Fatma was born into the world al-Jahiz left behind: a world transformed by magic and the supernatural. […] Egypt now sat as one of the great powers, and Cairo was its beating heart.“
The setting of this story made me home-sick for Cairo! Or whatever you call it for a city I lived in for six years…
This was fun! Plot driven, not much character development — not an easy task anyway for such a short novelette — although I did like Fatma. Good action scenes and sleuthing, interesting setting. Potential for a lot more. Onwards to the next two stories/novelettes, in preparation for reading Clark’s first full-length novel next month.
This was fun. Set in an alternate universe during the Napoleonic wars, the British and the French not only fight each other with their powerful Navies, but also with aerial combat — the captains not flying in planes, but riding on dragons. Well written, it reads a bit like a mix of Patrick O’Brien and Anne McCaffrey.
A serial killer starts killing in a small Kansas town. The corn is high, the heat is hot and the agent, that appears out of nowhere, dressed all black, is really weird….
If you are into graphic violence, this is for you. Really nasty murders, with a lot of detail! Ewwww. I sort of made my way through that book in small doses. Pretty gruesome. And that agent was really very weird.
I like Clancy and Jack Ryan is one of my favourite characters. With only slightly over 600 pages this is one of Clancy’s shorter efforts. It was ok at the time. But I do not recall any of the storyline, which usually means that it was nothing special.
At the end of the 19th century our main characters travel to Africa to make their fortune and search for their father, who disappeared into South-East Africa several years previously. They encounter the British Navy, slave traders, African kings, elephants, treasures, witches, buffalo, malaria, love, betrayal, loss and their destiny… To be continued in the next book… 😉
My next and last two offerings are colouring books! I have the German versions, but both have originally been published in English.
Set in colonial India, during the Bengal famine of 1943. A revenge story with a magical twist. The story is harrowing and shows the brutality of colonial rule. However, the telling of it didn‘t really do much for me.
“An alternate history short story looking at decisions and consequences, and what it takes to pull the trigger.“
I really liked this. What a barbaric idea, although I can see where they are coming from. Not a decision that should be taken lightly and that can be debated hotly.
Knocking off half a star, because I am somewhat unsatisfied with the abrupt and open ending. Still debating with myself, if I consider this special enough for an award? Does it really bring anything new to the table?
A young girl, a slave in the South, is presented with a moment where she can grasp for freedom, for change, for life. She grabs it with both hands, fiercely and intensely, and the spirit world is shaken.
Odd. Very wordy, very bloody, with a faint touch of romance and hope at the end. The tale was unsettling and had no rewarding features for me.
High fantasy, war, genderfluid characters. Death and blood and endless war. Loss, betrayal, hope.
Betrayal is a fearsome armor against love.
The world building was pretty good, but I did not connect with the characters. I liked the ending, although I did not really agree with the choices everyone made. It got me thinking though, so I can see why this is nominated for a Hugo.
Possibly the structurally weirdest thing I’ve ever written; it’s in the form of an MLA bibliography and it’s about colonialism in academia, monstrous appetites, and oh yes, lesbian cannibals.
Another one that went mostly over my head. While the structure of the narrative was clever and somewhat intriguing, it didn‘t really work for me. But that‘s on me.
So, that was all of the short story finalists for this year‘s Hugo Award. Not a great average for me this time around. Leaning strongly towards Fantasy—maybe that is the reason. I am more of SF and UF fan.
Tirosh goes back to his home in Africa, an alternative Palestine bordering Uganda. Which could have happened. Alternative history, what-might-have-beens, detective novel, hints of an autobiography and choices we make or that are taken from us.
I am really struggling with writing a review. I am not even sure if I liked this or how much. It certainly is ambitious and has lots of potential and plot bunnies that ran off into the great beyond. And the author has won awards and gets many excellent reviews.
It‘s just that this indeed very interesting story does not really go anywhere meaningful for me. Perhaps I just like plot-driven stories too much. Or this just went over my head. I don‘t know. I finished the book two nights ago and still haven‘t made up my mind.
I wish the alternate timelines would have been explored more. All these hints and then we are left dangling. Nur‘s story was a bit of a non-event. Tirosh‘s story took off in an interesting direction, developed little over the middle of the book and was sort of meh at the end. Really disliked Bloom as a person, although he was the most complex character.
I think it‘s going to be 4 stars just to honor the inventiveness and intended scope of the plot.
I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!
At first glance a story about the apocalypse—a meteor strikes Earth in the 1950s with devastating longterm effects. At second glance this is more an exploration of discrimination against women and persons of colour in that time in the US. And an exploration of the Space Race, this time not against the Russians, but against the end of the world.
A quarter into the book I wasn’t sure, if I liked the book or the main protagonist. Well written, a bit too linear and straight forward for me in this instance and maybe a little bit boring. Good beginning, but seemingly fairly flat story telling. And I just wanted to smack Elma around the head on many occasions. But I guess she is a product of her time, although she wants more. I couldn‘t really see the Elma of the short story in this.
Surprisingly, not a lot of tension at first. Yes, the Earth is about to end, eventually. But that didn‘t really drive the plot forward a lot. Character driven stories are not really my favourite books, and if they are, I want more character development than this. The plot sort of ambled along in a more or less predictable fashion. I had expected something different, after reading the Hugo Award winning novelette Lady Astronaut of Mars.
Nonetheless, it is a well told story with a lot of food for thought and the last chapter was just fabulous. I almost cried. Elma‘s love for flying and space shines through and the writing is very imaginative and poetic at times.
So a well-deserved 4 stars, despite what I wrote above. I didn‘t love it enough for the five star treatment. I will maybe read the next book, because Space! Right? perhaps I‘ll have talked myself into 5 stars soon, if I keep thinking about the book some more.
My first time with Valerian and Laureline. 3D chess, holy Star Trek! Originally published in 1976. Has a pretty old-fashioned and, dare I say it, cartoonish look to it. But then it is about 40 years old. Laureline is mostly in the sidelines, with a supporting role and the whole shebang is a little sexist, but considering the comic’s age I can live with that.
My free Kindle edition (kindle unlimited/amazon prime reading) from 2010 does not have the best resolution, the speech bubbles are a little out of focus.
The artwork grew on me pretty quickly. Guys in 70s hippy clothing, what’s not to like. Good story, too. Pretty chatty for a comic, though, with a lot of text. Sometimes overly crowded with speech bubbles.
I liked the artwork, colouring and plot. Aged fairly well, although it doesn’t have any of the flashiness and visual depth of modern comics. I would recommend this to friends and maybe even get another volume. I have not watched the movie yet, but I might do so now.