Thursday, 18 January 2018

A second batch of stories

It's possible that I need to think of a better blog post naming scheme for these series of posts, but since they don't pertain to a specific challenge, I don't have any ideas. I do have an update on my short story recording/organisation, however. Now I have a script that will automatically extract story details (title, author, mini-review, link) from my spreadsheet so that I can copy the output directly to a blog post. All I have to do is add the bolding (which might become automated too...). This was easy enough to do inside the spreadsheet itself, but for reasons I won't bore you with having a script is less fiddly, especially as I tick stories off as being blogged about. (This setup works using Apple's Numbers and Applescript, so it's probably not for everyone.)

My favourite story in this batch is hands down "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" by E Lily Yu, which was apparently short listed for ALL the awards, and I can see why. Definitely recommend reading it if you haven't already. The longest story in this batch, which actually took me a few days of reading (in between novel reading) to get through. I didn't actively dislike it, but it didn't really grab me and is probably my least favourite Greg Egan read to date. Oh well.

Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty's Place Cafe by Naomi Kritzer — A story about the imminent end of the world at the hands of an asteroid, and the friendships made along the way. A mostly good story, but the science was silly; they kept complaining that they couldn’t map the trajectory because Arecibo got defunded, but that is entirely the wrong sort of telescope for asteroid tracking (and even if it wasn’t, it’s also not the only telescope in the world). Source:

Dragon Brides by Nghi Vo — A story about a queen who, in her youth, had been rescued from a Dragon by her now-husband. A nice story but a little slow and I saw the end coming. Source:

The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E Lily Yu — A delightful story about educated wasps who can make paper, write in Mandarin and make maps. Source:

Uncanny Valley by Greg Egan — A long story about a realistic android made in the image of a Hollywood screenwriter with all his memories loaded in after he died. Or almost all his memories, which is where the story lies. An OK read but I didn’t love it nor connect with the protagonist. Source:

An Age of Ice by Zhang Ran — A story about a near future when cryonic freezing and thawing have become reality. Thoughtful but not excessively so. (And not as extreme as, say, Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold, but certainly tending in that direction.) Source:

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