Archive for the ‘short fiction’ Category
Published in 2011 by Tachyon Publications
where I got it: purchased new
why I read it: if Tim Powers wrote it, I want to read it.
Tim Powers has long been a favorite speculative fiction writer of mine. I describe him as a spec fic writer and not a “SF” writer because most of his books take place in the past. For decades, he’s been writing alternate history with a paranormal twist. Ghosts, voodoo, body switching, trapped souls, ancient demons, and mythological creatures abound. He’s writing what might have happened, what could have happened, what no one will ever tell you happened because no one would ever believe it. But if it comes from Powers, I’m happy to believe every word.
I’ve read a handful of his novels over the years, my long time favorites being Last Call, The Anubis Gates and On Stranger Tides. I’m sure I knew he’d written some short fiction, but I’d never come across any of it. When I saw a copy of his collection of short works The Bible Repairman, it was a no brainer to buy it. With 6 short stories (two of them really novellas) on the nature of souls and ghosts and things man perhaps was not meant to know, and a little blurb closing out each where he talks about how the story came into being, The Bible Repairman and other stories is a must have for any Powers fan.
With a Little Help, by Cory Doctorow
published in 2011
where I got it: received review copy from the author
why I read it: I is a Doctorow Fangirl.
Cory Doctorow is my favorite kind of futurenaut, one who is only a few years ahead of his time. His ideas are easily possible with existing technology, or nearly so. And that is equally wonderful and terrifying.
If you’ve been following Doctorow on Boingboing, twitter, or his posts on Publishers Weekly, you know he’s been experimenting with Self Publishing. Selfpub/epub/newpub is looking more and more to be the way of the future, and what better way to figure out how it all works than to dive in, head first? Alright, maybe not head first, as Doctorow has been publishing his writings under creative commons with everything downloadable on his website for years now.
What better way to experiment with self publishing, twitter marketing, print on demand, skipping the bookstore all together than by doing a short story volume with stories that involve the future of bookstores and publishing, arguements over systems transparencies, spam, 3D printing, gold farming, rogue AIs, and how google really works and then self publish it? I told you my word for 2011 was going to be meta. Reading With a Little Help was a blast, as was reading about the situations the stories had originally been written for and how this lovely little volume came to exist in the first place.
at first blush, this looks like a book for nerds. It is, and it isn’t. There’s plenty of old school tech jokes and plenty of new abbreviations that I couldn’t figure out. Instead of cyberpunk-esque technobabble or Neal Stephenson infodumps, Doctorow keeps everything easy to understand, inviting even. I think if my Mom read this she’d feel confident enough to hop on Twitter or Facebook tomorrow. I should never let my Mom read this.
Some of these stories made me chuckle. Many of them caused my jaw to drop and my eyes to get all big and a thin whisper of “Holy Fuck” to escape my mouth. All of them made me think. And that, I believe, is the point. Read the rest of this entry »
Secret Thoughts, by Guy Hasson
Published: 2011 from Apex Books
Where I got it: received eARC for review
why I read it: cuz telepaths are cool!!
In Guy Hasson’s Secret Thoughts, he envisions a near future where telepathy is real. Where through touch, a telepath knows everything you’re thinking, from what you want for dinner to your deepest secrets. Fiction involving telepathy is nothing new, but rarely have I run into fiction that depicts the discovery and immediate reaction to telepaths from the telepath’s point of view. With two short stories and a novella, Secret Thoughts focuses on individuals who are dealing with their gifts, and dealing with how the public and the government perceives them.
The three stories should be read in order, as I get the impression they take place in chronological order. The characters are all regular (other than being telepathic) people, and it’s amazing to watch through their eyes how quickly the government goes from being fascinated by telepaths to being horrified by them. It put me in mind a little bit of the telepath characters from Babylon5 – once a child’s telepathic abilities show up, the government takes control of the child’s future, for better or for worse.
All three stories are incredibly unique and even a day or two after reading I’m still surprised at the deep levels of intimacy, and not just physical intimacy. But when dealing with deep, pure emotions, what else should I have expected? Read the rest of this entry »