– 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
– THIS WORLD IS MADE FOR MONSTERS by M. Rickert 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. ★★★☆☆
– FAIRY TALES FOR ROBOTS by Sofia Samatar 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. ★★☆☆☆
– 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. 2021 FINALIST: THEODORE A. STURGEON MEMORIAL AWARD. ★★★★☆
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? ★★★★☆
“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.
Review for TRAVELLING INTO NOTHING, AN OWOMOYELA, ~18 p., ★★★¼☆ 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.
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.
“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