Illustration by Odera Igbokwe. Follow the link to the story at Fireside Magazine
I recently saw a post about the nominees for the 2019 Locus Award. One of the Locus Awards is given for short stories. I checked and can access all of the nominees, so I thought I’d read and review them all. Since they’re awarded in June, I might even get them all reviewed before I find out who the winner is. Maybe. Anyways, here’s my first review of a nominee for the 2019 Short Story Locus Award. This story was also nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Short Story Awards.
Published: February, 2018 in Fireside Magazine
Genre: urban historical fiction
Setting: a United States with mythological creatures and magic, around the Revolutionary War time (late 1700s)
Summary: Short version: The person’s story behind each tooth George Washington acquires Continue reading
This is the final book in the Broken Earth trilogy. I need to find out what happens. As proof of how much I loved this series, I read the entire series in the same month. I rarely even finish a series within a year, let alone a month!
Genre: speculative fiction (I waffle as to whether this is science fiction or fantasy. This book is more fantastical than the others.)
Length: 398 pages, 416 pages total
Setting: various parts of the Stillness and Corepoint, after the events of The Obelisk Gate and before the Shattering
Summary: Short version: Will the moon be caught or slammed into the Earth?
Published: January, 2015 in Clarkesworld (you can read it for free at the link provided)
Genre: science fiction short story
Setting: on Earth, near future
Interest: It recently won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story
Summary: The narrator is a AI who grew out of a search engine algorithm. She’s very aware that if she were to reveal herself to humanity, she’d probably be destroyed. But, she doesn’t want to just sit back and enjoy all our cat pictures (although those are lovely, please keep taking them). Instead, she wants to help people. She knows all kinds of information that would help people, if they would just listen to her suggestions. She has uneven success with helping people, but it’s just enough to get her to try more.
Final thoughts: A fun little story, and an interesting thought experiment on how an AI who only exists online could help a person. It was also a reminder of how many harmful actions people take, even knowing they aren’t the best choice. It’s so hard to do the right think all the time, although getting online prompts can help you do what you need to and not just what you want to. Wouldn’t it be great to have a computer find you that perfect job or the perfect house, though? That would save a lot of hassle. You know they’re out there, it’s just finding it that’s hard.
Awards won: the 2016 Nebula Short Story Award and the 2016 Hugo Short Story Award
Title comes from: The AI’s favorite part of the internet was all the cat pictures. In fact, when she started a dating company, she wanted to be paid in cat pictures. But what happens if you don’t like cats (like my husband?) Would we get a new form of racism against dog people?
Genre: science fiction
Length: 386 pages
Setting: various planets and stations, far future
Interest: It won both the Hugo and Nebula in 2014 and I’ve heard lots of great things about it. I was in the mood for a science fiction book, and decided to finally read this book (and the rest of the series soon). Continue reading
I think this will be my last post before Christmas. I haven’t even started wrapping presents or sent the Christmas cards out. Time to focus on Christmas things. But, one more review before a bit of a break. Don’t worry, I’ll have more before the year is out!
Genre: science fiction
Length: 53 pages
Setting: near future in the U.S.
Interest: I probably put it on my reading list because the novella won both the Hugo and the Nebula, but it’s been on there so long I can’t quite remember. I’m trying to cross off a few books that have been hanging out on my list for a while. Continue reading
Genre: epic fantasy
Length: 728 pages
Setting: Westeros, immediately following the events of Game of Thrones (read my first review here).
Interest: It’s the second book in the Song of Fire and Ice series. I’m rereading the whole series for several reasons. #1 It’s so good. #2 I’m watching the HBO series and am reminded how good the series is, but have forgotten some of the many details. #3 I’m hoping by the time I reread the series, the next book will have come out. Maybe. Hopefully. Please? Continue reading
Genre: urban fantasy
Length: 465 pages
Setting: various parts of the U.S., present day
Interest: It’s a classic speculative fiction book (even if it’s only been around for ten years) that everyone who reads in the genre should read. I finally got around to it.
Summary: The basic premise of the story is that all the old gods that got pulled into America by their worshipers immigrating to America are going to war with the new gods created by the American culture and Shadow is stuck in the middle. ***If you plan to read this book, don’t read any more of the summary or you’ll be spoiled and miss some of the joy of the book.*** Shadow is recruited by Wednesday (Odin) to be his bodyguard while Wednesday tries to recruit the old gods to fight. He’s not having much luck getting the gods in a fighting mood, so he goes to a meeting with the new gods where he is murdered. This galvanizes the old gods to fight. Turns out the whole war is a big con job between Odin and Loki (posing as Mr. World and head of the new gods) to regain some power, but Shadow stops the slaughter of the gods.
Final thoughts: This book totally lived up to the hype. It’s definitely a book that you get more out of the more world mythology you know. It is so tightly written that I didn’t realize the can was going on until it was revealed at the end, but once the reveal occurs, all the previous actions fit perfectly in the new reality. The underlying mythology was Native American that suffered the other gods to live on their soil, but it is the Bison and Thunderbirds that help Shadow in the end. An excellent book that tumbles through my mind afterward.
Title comes from: The book was about how the gods in America had to survive on scraps of power because they were forgotten.
Awards won: the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Bram Stoker Awards of 2002
Reading challenges fulfilled: 9/12 in the Award Winning Book Challenge, 60/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge