Monday, September 16, 2019

The New Voices of Science FictionThe New Voices of Science Fiction by Hannu Rajaniemi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This short story collection caught my eye primarily because Hannu Rajaniemi's name was on the cover, but I wasn't fooled. Not really. This just happens to be a collection of the best SF stories to come out in the last five-ish years, as selected by him and Jacob Weisman.

Was I still interested? Yeah! After all, those guys have good taste. :) And when it comes to good tales as a whole, I enjoyed this entire book.

I've read a number of these stories already, and if I have, I'm lightly skimming over them. Otherwise...

Openness by Alexander Weinstein - A cool, scary look at intimacy worthy of a Black Mirror episode, where giving another person access to all your secret kinks, buttons, and memories can be either a great boon or a relationship killer. Me likey.

The Shape of My Name by Nino Capri - Time travel done in a very interesting way, focusing more on a strained familial relationship than anything else. The focus is clear but all the side discoveries are quite visceral.

UTOPIA, LOL by Jamie Wahls - Clever take on virtual reality and memes, with the added benefit of AIs and badass choices. Cool twist.

Mother Tongues by S. Qiouyi Lu - Linguistics-focused tale of parenthood and only wanting the best for the child with a very dark twist. It made me very sad.

In The Sharing Place by David Erik Nelson - What seems to be a tale set in the brackets of the Stages of Grief eventually becomes something much more interesting, more creative. Very chilling.

A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad - I've read this twice and have seen it reprinted all over the place. If you haven't read it, enjoy a printed tale as tasty as steak. Don't ask if it's a forgery. :)

Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer - Also a commonly reprinted tale, but quite fun. A Hugo winner.

Ice by Rich Larson - Probably my least favorite of the collection, this was a tale of sibling rivalry on an ice planet. Genetic jealousy.

One Hour, Every Seven Years by Alice Sola Kim - Very oppressive in isolation and loneliness, this time travel tale seems to have lots of hidden gems in it. The descriptions of Venus and Mars and their places in the tale struck me as rather important. Time to see the sun!

Toppers by Jason Sanford - This one really caught my imagination. Apocalyptic New York meets a creepy Whispering Mist that is a lot more than it seems. Two thumbs up.

Tender Loving Plastics by Amman Sabet - AIs and foster care. What could go wrong?

Welcome To Your Authentic Indian Experience by Rebecca Roanhorse - Another Hugo winner. And it's easily one of the best stories I've read in the last few years. :) Quite sharp.

Strange Waters by Samantha Mills - Another re-read for me, Water is not always water, and fishing is not always fishing. Great worldbuilding, interesting mash.

Calved by Sam J. Miller - Another re-read. Excellent setting with a frustrated dad just trying to do right but unable to get a grip on the future world or his own slightly estranged son.

The Need for Air by Lettie Prell - A virtual reality warning. Pretty heartbreaking but my sympathies are all for the son.

Robo-Liopleurodon! by Darcie Little Badger - Nanotech in the ocean. Need I say more? Aren't you excited? I was! And am!

The Doing and Undoing of Jacob E. Mwangi by E. Lily Yu - The transformation from gamer to ... dreamer. Pretty mild, but interesting.

Madeleine by Amal El-Mohtar - Probably one of my favorites in the bunch, it combines a voluntary medical trial with horrible time-travel-ish side effects, reality modifications, and the very uneasy feeling that memory inside time is all that we have. Parts of me would call this a horror.

Our Lady of the Open Road by Sarah Pinsker - Very enjoyable tale of aging traveling rockers butting heads against a VR tech world.

A Study in Oils by Kelly Robson - I can't decide whether I think this is the best one in this collection or not, but it's really close. I'm a sucker for redemption stories... especially when it comes tied to horrible sanctioned free-range revenge and art. :)


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