Tag Archives: 2010 Hugo nominee

Re: Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America

Between going to Readercon and staying up late two nights in a row reading Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, by Robert Charles Wilson, I was in serious sleep debt for a week.

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Re: Eros, Philia, Agape

In “Eros, Philia, Agape,” by Rachel Swirsky, Lucian is a robot purchased by Adriana to be her lover. His brain is filled with the knowledge of famous poets and physicists and gardeners etc, and he is designed to change his personality so he will be in love with her. After they marry, Adriana and Lucian adopt a little girl, whom they name Rose. Over the course of the story, we see why Lucian feels he must give away all his possessions and leave the ones he loves.

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Re: Vishnu at the Cat Circus

The beauty of Ian McDonald’s prose keeps making me want to like his work, but it never pays off. At least I got through “Vishnu at the Cat Circus” in one pass. We begin with lots of poetical cats. How can you lose with cats? Within the framework of this cat circus, Vishnu Nariman tells us his life story, beginning with his parents’ cute meet: on a desk floating in a monsoon flood carrying them away from killer robots.

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Re: Act One

After being disappointed by her recent runs at the Hugo, I was pleasantly surprised that I liked “Act One,” by Nancy Kress. The story asks interesting questions, raises intriguing ideas, and involves you in a world where real people might live. The characters are all grumpy in one way or another but they care about each other.  The story is about an effort to make everyone care more about each other.

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Re: One of Our Bastards is Missing

One of Our Bastards is Missing,” by Paul Cornell needs more context. I liked the opening, which  zooms in across the Solar System, but then it lands in some sort of alternate history British court. And stays there. This puts me off, as I get quickly bored with court intrigue. There’s a princess betrothed to a prince, and she has some sort of fondness for our hero, Hamilton. The one interesting bit is the “folds” they can do in space.

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Re: Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast;

“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” by Eugie Foster is utterly otherworldly. It’s a world where every day you put on a mask and the mask determines who you are. The technology built into the mask, as well as powerful pheromones from other sources, control your thoughts, your desires, what you are.

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Re: The Women of Nell Gwynne’s

One thing “The Women of Nell Gwynne’s,” by Kage Baker, really gets right is that you can’t take steampunk seriously.

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Re: Palimpsest (by Valente)

Some people write for the love of zombies and airships. Others for dinosaurs . Others write for the love of books and trains. And cities and maps. And deeply, deeply damaged people.  Palimpsest, by Catherynne M. Valente, tells the story of the things it loves in such bejeweled language, it seems to inspire still more ornate metaphors in everyone who tries to talk about it. For me, reading this book is like eating an entire pound of assorted chocolate truffles, each one flavored in artfully exotic, repulsive combinations, like sandalwood and prosciutto.

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Re: It Takes Two

When I first read Nicola Griffith’s “It Takes Two,” in Eclipse Three, it didn’t make much of an impression on me. All I could remember was how quickly my interest faded in reading about high-tech workers bemoaning their fate post-dot-com bust. Even now that I’ve re-read the whole thing recently, I’m still not all that interested.

Cody works for a small tech start-up. Richard is a friend she sees only on business trips, and while there is no romantic interest, he makes those trips bearable. She is about to go on a trip to Atlanta, but he won’t be there. He quit to take an academic research job.

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Re: Overtime

I like the central premise of Charles Stross’s Laundry stories: eldritch gods are real, computers are breaching the barriers that keep them out, and the job of maintaining that barrier is left to a dysfunctional British bureaucracy known as the Laundry. But if you haven’t read The Atrocity Archives or The Jennifer Morgue, this is not the place to start.  Still, if you have read them and you are a fan and The Fuller Memorandum didn’t slake your thirst, you can get a dose of what passes for working in the Laundry offices in “Overtime.”

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