Avatars, aliens, robots and climate change

The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Six 

I will update this anthology as I go along…

– ELSEWHERE by James S.A. Corey
A daughter visits her dying father with the help of an avatar. The story tells us why she can’t be by his side in person. I liked this one. Emotional, relatable. ★★★★½

Aliens visit a small village, a yearly festival ensues to celebrate the occasion. Low key, looking at the effects on the village. Fairly odd, I am missing a highlight, it didn‘t really engage me. ★★★☆☆

A fairytale collection for a soon to awaken robot, giving purpose, potential and warnings. I didn’t care for the story. At 10.000+ words too long, very unemotional, only telling without showing. ★★☆☆☆ 

Can be read for free here.

– THE TRANSLATOR, AT LOW TIDE by Vajra Chandrasekera
Another climate-change/end-of-civilisation story, presumably set in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Lyrical, sad and a little horrific. The translator nears the end of his life and reflects. 

Can be read for free here.

AIs underwater and Avatars in trees…

The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Six 

I will update this anthology as I go along…

TEST 4 ECHO by Peter Watts

Six days before the money ran out, Enceladus kicked Medusa right in the ass.

Onboard thermistors registered a sudden spike—80°, 90°, 120°—before the seabed jumped and something slammed the probe from the side. A momentary flash. An ocean impossibly boiling. A rocky seabed, tilting as if some angry giant had kicked over a table.

Beginning of the story

You can tell that Watts is a zoologist and marine-mammal biologist. I really have to get back to reading all his stuff, although it usually does a number on my brain. I have to confess that I only have a vague idea of what happened in this story, but it was good regardless. AI and illegal propagation? ★★★★☆

Can be read for free here

UMA by Ken Liu

“A Utility Maintenance Avatar is vaguely humanoid, but only about three feet tall fully stretched out and no more than fifty pounds in weight.“

Our hero piggy-backs one of those to save some people… This one was fun! Very fluently written, it really pulled you in right away. ★★★★★

Can be read for free here — please follow the link to look at the illustration accompanying the story. I love it. A small part of it is shared at the top. Initially I had it uploaded fully here as well, but I was unsure how the illustrator feels about sharing, I couldn‘t see any info about it. So I took it down again. .

I really enjoyed all of Ken Liu‘s short stories so far, much more than the one novel I tried to read, The Grace of KIngs.

Vengeful foxes…

Lightspeed Magazine, February 2012Lightspeed Magazine, February 2012 by John Joseph Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review for “Her Words Like Hunting Vixens Spring“ by Brooke Bolander, ~14 pages

“The first fox to come clawing up and out of her throat is a sleek gray thing with enormous ears and eyes like drops of crude. (…)
The Day My Beau Tried To Kill Me, September 17th, 1880.“

A story of revenge, Old Wild West style. With the help of a bruja, Rosa has unusual assistants on her hunt for her serial-killing ex-fiancé.

Bolander seems to like mixing her heroines with fantastical beasts.

Enjoyable, easy read. Nothing too surprising. Nice visuals.

Can be read for free here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic…

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Redemption and a new start, maybe?

Lightspeed Magazine, September 2018 (Issue 100)Lightspeed Magazine, September 2018 by John Joseph Adams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

She was offered the comfort of a drug-induced apathy. She refused.
A story about a second chance. With a catch? More of an exploration of self than of space. A conscious and curious ship. A neural interface. Awareness, revelation and acceptance. Resolution and an open end—not a fan of those.

I can‘t decide if I liked this story or not. I definitely disliked the main character. There was unexplained backstory, that I would have preferred to explore more.

More by the author: http://an.owomoyela.net/fiction

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Is the cost worth it?

Lightspeed Magazine, January 2018Lightspeed Magazine, January 2018 by John Joseph Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Court Magician, Sarah Pinsker, 7 pages, ★★★★☆

Read this when it was nominated for the Nebula and read it again now, after its Hugo nomination.

The question I see here in this story—what are we willing to sacrifice to gain a nicer life? And knowledge. Knowledge over all. Is the cost worth it? How far are we willing to go?

He craves that moment where the trick behind the thing is revealed to him, where it can be stripped of power and made ordinary.

Can be read for free here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic…

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Fucking Cyberpunk!

Lightspeed Magazine, February 2015Lightspeed Magazine, February 2015 by John Joseph Adams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Brooke Bolander, “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead”

Great imagery and a fuckton of gratuitous profanity. Unsettling. So over the top with coarse language and a plot that wasn‘t going anywhere fast, that I considered not finishing this. Unexpected and surprising ending, that made up for the over-the-top and dragging part in between.


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Lightspeed Magazine, June 2013Lightspeed Magazine, June 2013 by John Joseph Adams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Alive, Alive Oh” by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

The waves crash onto the blood-red shore, sounding just like the surf on Earth: a dark rumbling full of power. It’s been seventeen years since we left.

Pretty depressing story. A couple moves to another planet, so he can do scientific exploration. Things do not go well for their family on this poisonous planet.

Can be found here:

The complete issue:

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Lightspeed Magazine, August 2016 (Lightspeed Magazine, #75)Lightspeed Magazine, August 2016 by John Joseph Adams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Those Brighter Stars” by Mercurio D. Rivera, 6030 words, ~14 pages
Aliens come to Earth, fairly typical first-contact-scenario. Emphatic skills, three generations of mothers and daughters and their failure to communicate with each other and others. The exploration of Ava’s emphatic skills was interesting, but sadly didn’t go very far. 3/5 stars

“Trip Trap” by Kevin J. Anderson and Sherrilyn Kenyon, 4210 words, ~10 pages
Oh, a bridge troll, that’s different!
“I don’t like fast food. I want something slow enough I can catch!”
I know the feeling! The story was mildly amusing. 2/5 stars

“The War of Heroes” by Kameron Hurley, 8595 words, ~20 pages
“There can be no civilization without war,” the Hero said.”
Depressing, but well written. I loved the ships. 4/5 stars

Source: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/iss…

Total 4 stars, 44 pages read

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