Tag Archives: 2009 Hugo nominee

Re: True Names

Filled with computronium, parity checkers, references to running hot or slow, and sockpuppets, “True Names“, by Cory Doctorow & Benjamin Rosenbaum is a breakneck story about the struggles of numerous instances of personalities fighting in various levels of reality over love, power, and–what else?–suzeranity over the universe. Beebe is a chaotic civilization of personalities. They include Nadia, who made a killing with the YearMillion bug, Paquette the philosopher, and Firmament, whose birth was turned into a hit musical production. They are opposed by Demiurge, who wants everything to be orderly. Their common enemy is  the terrifying onslaught of Brobdinag. It all tumbles into a startling record scratch of an ending that shifts into party music.

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Re: The Tear

Ian McDonald makes difficult reading. I had to machete my way through Brasyl and it took me three tries to read “The Tear.” It’s a dense story, filled interesting ideas and  beautiful language on a grand scale. There’s so many peoples and places and worlds and universes, it’s just too much to take in at one sitting. Before I was even half way through, I felt like I was trying to eat a 72 ounce steak plus a whole chocolate cake with raspberry filling and mocha buttercream icing. I kept wishing it were a novel so I’d have a book to set down and digest for a while before diving back in.

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Re: Truth

I was totally suckered me in by the sense of mystery in Robert Reed’s  “Truth“. The mystery is at first embodied in a prisoner the narrator is watching in preparation for interrogating him. Ramiro, if that’s his real name, is endlessly intriguing: his effortless smiles, his persistent attempts to engage his guards in conversation, and the peculiar genes inserted into his DNA. The narrator is also intriguing: the careful observation, the skepticism, the wariness that withholds for several pages even her name–Carmen.

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Re: The Gambler

In “The Gambler,” by Paolo Balcigulpi, Ong is a Laotian who fled a despotic regime. His father was an idealist who believed in Thoreau,  civil disobedience,  and publishing broadsheets denouncing Laotian politics. His mother was a realist who escaped with Ong after his father was arrested. Now Ong is in LA, working for

Milestone Media—a combination of NTT DoCoMo, the Korean gaming consortium Hyundai-Kubu, and the smoking remains of the New York Times Company.

The coolest part of their site is a graphic representation of the hits each story generates, called the maelstrom. Truly his father’s son, he keeps posting stories about political corruption and lost butterflies. Currently he is working on a story about the bluets disappearing around Thoreau’s Walden Pond, and how they might be saved. But nobody wants to hear it.

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Re: Article of Faith

If I believed in a god I would swear to him/her/them that I’ve read “Article of Faith” by Mike Resnick before. A priest has a robot servant who wants to understand god. The robot asks him questions and takes his answers to heart. The robot desperately wants to believe. It wants to know if it has a soul. It wants to be allowed to worship god in services with the humans. It doesn’t get it.

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Re: Alastair Baffle’s Emporium of Wonders

One thing’s for sure about “Alastair Baffle’s Emporium of Wonders” by Mike Resnick; the title lets you know right away that it’s a magic shop story. And if you like sentimental magic shop stories, this one delivers.

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Re: Evil Robot Monkey

Evil Robot Monkey“, by Mary Robinette Kowal presents yet another talking animal for me to fall in love with.

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Re: From Babel’s Fallen Glory We Fled

From Babel’s Fallen Glory We Fled,” by Michael Swanwick takes you on a journey through another world. A sentient suit called Rosamund, tells of Carlos Quivera, who survived the ruin of towering city of Babel, one of many cities on the planet Gehenna built by giant black sentient millipedes. Quivera contrives an extremely rough alliance with a millipede he calls Uncle Vanya, and sets out for home.
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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: 26 Monkeys

Like the story says:

Aimee’s big trick is that she makes twenty-six monkeys vanish onstage.

Except it’s not really Aimee’s trick, it’s the monkeys’. Then Kij Jonhson’s “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” goes on to reveal that the monkeys (and one chimpanzee, who is not a monkey) have plenty of other tricks up their, um, arms.

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