Re: Special Economics

Many moons ago, there was a Meetup about beginnings.  At the time, I was struggling with writing a beginning, and I particularly had in mind the Four Elements of a good beginning: Character, Conflict, Specificity, Credibility. We read the beginnings of several good stories, and I was especially impressed by the beginning of “Special Economics,” […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Re: The Erdmann Nexus

“The Erdmann Nexus,” by Nancy Kress has the trademark detailed descriptions and well-drawn characters, but I have a problem with its One Impossible Thing. The story opens with a slightly confusing passage about a spaceship that’s not the spaceship Dr. Erdmann imagines it to be. Then we actually meet Dr. Henry Erdmann, a physicist retired […]

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Re: Exhalation

Where “Evil Robot Monkey” touched my heart, “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang engaged my brain. No, wait. It stole my brain and turned it inside out in one long thought experiment.  The reading on Escape Pod perfectly matches the dry tone of the narration. Opening with the jarring image of exchanging lungs for freshly charged ones […]

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Re: The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman is a good example of how to write a chapter book. While each chapter stands on its own, small things get repeated, binding the book into a satisfying whole. In a wonderfully understated opening, we follow “the man Jack” tracking down the last surviving member of a family he […]

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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 […]

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