Tag Archives: 2008 Nebula nominee

Re: Dark Heaven

I managed to track down one more Nebula reading: “Dark Heaven”, by Gregory Benford, which is collected in The Year’s Best Science Fiction 25th Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois. Like most of the others, it’s a pretty good story.

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Re: Dangerous Space

I’m not all that into music but “Dangerous Space,” by  Kelly Eskridge won me over by plugging me into what’s like for people who are. Mars is a brilliant “sound guy” who seems supremely confident and competent, untouchable save for one vulnerability–music. In the perfect little divey bar, the opening band, Noir, goes on stage and:

…the drummer brought down his sticks, the bass walked in, the guitar wailed an impossible chord, and the singer opened his mouth and took me apart and put me back together again and again and again.

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Re: Little Brother

In Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow, Marcus Yallow is a smartass who delights in playing Harajuku Fun Madness and in evading the security at his high school. He and his friends are caught in the post-bombing sweep after a terrorist attack on San Francisco. After a harrowing interrogation, Marcus is set loose. Though he knows he’s being watched, he also knows how not to be watched. And he’s not going to let Big Brother, the Department of Homeland Security, get away with this.

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Re: The Political Prisoner

In a moody story of an internal spy caught in the sweep of a coup, “The Political Prisoner,” by Charles Coleman Finlay is so dominated by betrayals, interrogations, and imprisonment, it’s easy to lose track of the setting: a planet where the terraforming is going slower than hoped and religion seems to be the main force keeping society together. Maxim Nikomedes begins the story under arrest. During the course of the opening pages, he recounts history that was too complicated for me to understand except to acknowledge that it was going to be a spy story. I was absorbed by his deepening predicament. Despite attempts to escape the sweep, and despite repeated acts that have effect only through persistance, he is mired (eventually literally) in the muck of despair. Bused out to the edge of the living world, Max is put to hard labor terraforming the dirt with his bare hands. Which leaves me thinking that forcing prisoners to do the dirty work might have something to do with why the terraforming isn’t going so well.
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Re: Baby Doll

The introduction to “Baby Doll,” by Johanna Sinisalo gives you an intriguing overview of the Finnish heritage in science fiction and fantasy.  Then it curtly informs you that this story is dystopian SF about children losing their childhood and dumps you into sexhell.

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Re: The Ray-Gun: A Love Story

From the opening, “The Ray-Gun: A Love Story“, by James Alan Gardner made me smile. In storybook prose it tells of a ray-gun and the boy who found it. I most enjoyed the flashes of humor in lines like:

No one on Earth noticed–not even the shamans who thought dots in the sky were important.

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Re: If Angels Fight

Living near Boston means I hear more than enough about the Irish in Boston, the Kennedys in Boston, and crony politics in Boston. Thus when I meet with these Boston tropes in fiction, my resistance goes way up. In this case, I simply could not fight my way past my prejudices. I will have to leave to others the pleasure of reading If Angels Fight, by Richard Bowes, which I believe contains a poignant story about a lost boy and his guardian angel.

For a SF story set in Boston that’s more to my taste, I choose Zodiac, by Neal Stephenson. (Preemptive further reading!)

Re: Kaleidoscope

In “Kaleidoscope,” by K.D. Wentworth, Ally finds herself caught in a kaleidoscope of possible worlds. In some she returns a stray dog to its home. In others, it gets run over. In some her friends are married and thriving. In others they’re in various stages of breakup. And in some, she just might find her true love.

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Re: Dark Rooms

In “Dark Rooms“, by Lisa Goldstein, the realistic but fictional Nathan Stevens encounters the fantastic but real George Méliès. Stevens meets Méliès in a dark room watching turn of the 20th century films, when cinema was in its infancy. Stevens has come to Paris to be an artist, and joins Méliès in the new art form. He helps Méliès get his camera working and together they develop simple special effects. Then things get difficult, and Stevens goes back to America, bearing a secret.

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Re: Mars: A Traveler’s Guide

Mars, A Traveler’s Guide,” by Ruth Nestvold is pretty dark. Funny, but dark. You realize quickly that you are reading the data feed from an online help system. The unseen human is stranded with no better help than a wiki.  It reminds me of the old Bob Newhart routines, where he used to tell stories from one side of a phone conversation. Here, you follow what happens through what queries are being made. Or not made.