Re: Out of All Them Bright Stars

In “Out of All Them Bright Stars,” by Nancy Kress, it’s the end of the night, and Sally Gourley is filling up the catsup bottles when an alien walks into the diner. I know right away it’s one of them — no chance to make a mistake about that — even though it’s got on […]


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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 […]

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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: Beginnings, Middles, & Ends

Beginnings, Middles, &  Ends, by Nancy Kress is one of those books I keep coming back to. It’s so well organized: beginnings, middles, and ends crossed with plot, character, and revision. And it explicates one central idea, which gives the writer the reassuring feeling she is handing you an infinitely flexible tool that will help […]

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Re: Dancing On Air

Like “Bullet In The Brain,” “Dancing On Air,” by Nancy Kress is another old favorite of mine. This Nebula and Hugo nominee from 1993 is a compelling glimpse into the competitive backstage of ballet: the injuries, the competition, the starvation, all showing the lengths (mostly) women will go to become ballerinas. They even use illegal […]

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Re: Safeguard

Some topics you need to write about with some restraint, like putting kids into danger to get the reader’s sympathy. Toward the end of “Safeguard,” by Nancy Kress, the story hangs a lantern on what a low device this is, and in general, shows restraint in depicting the children, and letting you feel as you […]

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Re: Fountain of Age

When I read a story that I don’t like written by someone I admire, it makes feel like there’s something wrong with me. Nancy Kress, for example, is incredibly smart about writing, she gets her science right, she gets her people right–but every now and then I run across a story that rubs me the […]

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