Book Cover


"Fatima's Wound"
Author: Kali Wallace
Main Characters: Fatima
Main Elements: Science Fiction - Space

"The Magician and Laplace's Demon"
Author: Tom Crosshill
Main Characters: Unnamed Magician, Unnamed AI
Main Elements: Science Fiction - Artificial Intelligence

"Now Dress Me in My Finest Suit and Lay Me in My Casket"
Author: M. Bennardo
Main Characters: Patty
Main Elements: Science Fiction - Space

"No Vera There"
Author: Dominica Phetteplace
Main Characters: Vera
Main Elements: Science Fiction - Clones

"The Emperor of Mars"
Author: Allen M. Steele
Main Characters: Jeff Halbert
Main Elements: Science Fiction - Mars

"The Sledge-Maker's Daughter"
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Main Characters: Kathrin, Widow Grayling, Garrett
Main Elements: Science Fiction - Dystopia

"Tongtong's Summer"
Author: Xia Jia
Main Characters: Tontong, Ah Fu, Wang, Granpa
Main Elements: Science Fiction - Future Tech

Fatima's Wound - was interesting though I must admit I didn't get parts of it. I got Fatima's pain, but was the wound in her literal? And what was the wound in space? It jumped from past to present a fair amount and I had a tendency of getting lost as it did so. But it was still well written.

The Magician and Laplace's Demon - I loved this one, how magic was made to be the manipulation of probability, and only works when it cannot be observed. Think of an interference pattern when light passes through two slits, however if you put something to detect which slit a specific photon passes through the interference pattern disappears. However if you are an AI that wants to control everything, then you need to know and observe everything (Laplace's Demon) and these magicians that act upon the unobservable are a problem for it, so it decides it must eliminate them. But then...what if such things are an integral part of the universe, what if it cannot exist if it is fully observed? What happens when you take magic out of the world? I thought it was very well written and unlike many short stories, completely understandable (mind you I did take a course on Quantum Physics ones so...yeah...though understandable is a bit of a stretch when you talk about that field!). I'm not surprised that this one was nominated for a Nebula Award and I liked this one better than the one that won (though that one was good too)

Now Dress Me in My Finest Suit and Lay Me in My Casket - This one was good, about the different ways we all prepare for the inevitable, death, and the ways in which we choose to face it. The fact it takes place on a space station/ship only serves to make the parallel between coffins and spacesuits, and the fragility of life.

No Vera There - a search for identity, a group of incorrectly downloaded clones seek to find their own identities since the original identity was corrupted and lost. The interleaving of the personality quizzes was interesting and well done. Though the answers were meaningless (What day of the week are you?) you found a little of yourself depending on how you interpret them.

The Emperor of Mars - there are a lot of books and stories about Mars dating a long way back, and this one can be added to the list, in a sense celebrating them, reminding us that even though we know Mars isn't covered with lush rainforests and inhabited canals there is still a mystery to the red planet we should never give up on. For those who love to read science fiction I think you'll love this one too. And it was a pleasure to read, not as metaphorical as many other short stories tend to be. Too bad there were a few annoying typos that made the occasional sentence hard to figure out.

The Sledge-Maker's Daughter - this one felt like the start of a potentially interesting story but it had no ending, no explanation. Who were the jangling men? Who was that guy in the flyier? I didn't even get what the weapon was for. It's like it got to the point where the story would normally begin and it just ended leaving me totally confused.

Tongtong's Summer - Clarksworld is making an effort to expose us North Americans to Chinese SF and here is one example. This was a sweet story about how robots can help the sick, and how through those same robots, the sick themselves can help others, giving them a purpose they couldn't otherwise achieve, something to live for.

Posted: October 2016


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