To Hold Up the Sky by Liu Cixin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having been a long-time fan of Liu Cixin, it isn't much of a surprise that I fell into his short story collection. That being said, I *have* read a number of these from within other collections. This may have affected my overall impression of the entire thing.
THAT being said, his stories ARE generally consistent. The strongest ones are the ones that mix high-SF with down-to-earth characterization. The most notable of these is the first story. The Villiage Teacher.
I admit I have a soft spot for the close ties to Chinese culture with the vast Space-Opera themes. If any of you have read his massive trilogy, you'll know what I mean.
Equally notable are the stories that pick up some mind-blowing technology themes. I feel lots of love with the crazy-cool universal dimensional stuff and string-computing (as opposed to regular quantum computing) but there's plenty of all of it to wet your chops.
Hard-SF is Cixin's forte. When he combines it with rather close-tied Chinese themes, including traditional poetry set against universe-shattering themes, I think he's pretty mind-blowing.
But I'll be honest here: Fewer than half of the stories in this collection thrilled me to death. They're decent and some are really good, but I prefer his longer fiction. By far.
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