beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
If I think of this as buying a 'short novel' with a bunch of filler stories then it's okay.

I quite liked the cover story, The Runabout by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
There's a crew of people going for salvage, a mystery they find and more or less resolve, weird tech, and actual emotional character arcs. Also, women.

Everything else... I just sighed really big, so, that.

Story by story reviews under the cut.


Novelettes

Come As You Are, Dale Bailey
Had to look this one up to remember the plot. Instantly forgettable story about a junkie. Thinks it's a meditation on human nature and what it would mean to be able to share said nature around, but it's just another addict story, all dark messes. Also it flat out says how boring it is when other people try and describe their high but spends most of the story describing. So, you know, blah.
I feel it wuld go over well in writing class though.


Night Fever, Will Ludwigsen
Deeply unpleasant alternate history murders that I can't really see a point in.
To be fair it has its disturbing content warning up front, but, I'd really rather I'd believed them and skipped reading this nasty.


Short Stories

On The Ship, Leah Cypess
Didn't suck, female hero, but I found it obvious and a bit nothingy.


Good Show, William Preston
Would rather scrub my brain. Think it was going for something clever and film studies ish about how you've got to use film to transform the audience into better people, but aliens come to earth to make snuff movies and keep building up the scale to a grand finale? Nasty stuff I did not want.


The Escape of The Adastra: Asha's Story, James Gunn
... I can't really say I read this. It started out as tedious infodump so I tried for a bit, gave up keeping my attention on that, skipped forward to see when things started to happen, and just... reached the end of the story. I don't know how the subject matter, first contact and aliens and escape and so forth, could be made so very boring by the style.


Tired of the same old quests? Peter Wood
Fantasy world plays mundane earth rpgs about lawnmowing and insurance, because fun is always the different thing.
Was funnier when that tumblr fic did it with Harry Potter characters.
Also I wanted to start arguing about which concepts specifically they found unfamiliar. I mean metal cars, yes, but lawns and roses? You really think gardening is going to baffle millennia of working people? And not having bureaucracy is almost unrelated to tech level or magic use, so that's not...
... the point, which was a short funny about the unifying power of games, so.


The Best Man, Jay O'Connell
I... don't know. Um. It's clearly science fiction, new world via characters routine use of gadgets and acceptance of hazards we'd consider mind boggling. I'd call it a dystopia. Main character has a writing job he hates but can do slightly better than an algorithm, so stays in paid employment in ongoing expectation of a computer kicking him out. Then he catches an infectious idea that makes him hate his own skin. He paints himself alien green because it was handy, because he's a sf geek like the reader. And then he has to go be best man at his brother's wedding. But he's hung up on the idea his brother is the better man. Like, completely convinced of it, thinks he's a loser and his brother is awesome. But by the end of the story he's mostly coping without being green and his brother got him a teaching job. Human teachers are only needed places where they've rejected technology, which the point of view guy thinks is really weird and backwards of them, but the story has just amply demonstrated reasons for.
So having written out the plot it strikes me as one of those writing class write what you know stories with science fiction on top. Writer hates commercial writing, can't afford to quit because health insurance, takes charity to go be a teacher instead. The family stuff is like... he thinks his brother is better and we probably agree?
It's interesting science fiction but... vaguely embarrassing? I can't see how it's optimistic, like the author's introduction seems to think. And the more I think about its world the more it's a believable hellscape.
So. That's uncomfortable.


Triceratops, Ian McHugh
About a future where genetic engineering resurrects dead species, including neanderthals, and then starts tweaking them for upgrades.
Definitely science fiction, seems more like a tour of the idea than a resolved story or even a set of characters.
Interesting bits, not my speed.


Persephone of the Crows, Karen Joy Fowler
Not a story, just a series of somewhat unpleasant scenes and some nasty implications.
boring.




So that's one didn't suck, one interesting ideas, one where it's kind of interesting sf but my main reaction is vague embarrassment for the protagonist, and then a whole lot of forgettable and grubby nastiness.

I'm not liking the scoreboard there.


But hey, Runabout was a space adventure.

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beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
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