Sunday Short Fiction Review: The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 4 Edited by Neil Clarke

A couple quick reviews for some short fiction I read this week.  All of these were found in the following anthology.

The Best Science Fiction of the Year Volume 4 Edited by Neil Clarke

“When We Were Starless” by Simone Heller: 3.5 stars.  Really unique take on the post apocalyptic landscape. While the setting sounded just how I always picture that kind of setting (crumpled glass, fallen steel, random detritus), descriptions of the non-human characters and tech were frustratingly vague.  I would have loved to have just a little more time to explore.

“Intervention” by Kelly Robson: 3 stars.  Loved Jules’s character- but not much else.  Jules leaves her comfy job on the moon to manage a creche.  We pick up toward the end of her creche career to see what fate has in store for her.  This was okay.  I thought it was a little boring. The prevailing attitude towards children throughout the solar system I found somewhat unbelievable (in that literally every occupied planet finds children deplorable).  It vaguely reminded me of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World in that regard.

“All the Time We’ve Left to Spend” by Alyssa Wong: 5 Star read.  Honestly- I was almost as blown away by this short story as I was by The Lady Astronaut of Mars.  Wong made me care about the character, but also let the mystery unfold naturally which kept me engaged. I found myself wondering what else she has written. Cool world building and cultural elements too.

“Domestic Violence” by Madeline Ashby: 5 Stars.  This is exactly the kind of story I love- cool tech, women who can fend for themselves and others. Not at all what I expected from the title.  I will say I had guessed the ending- but I really didn’t care.  The journey was still a blast.

“Ten Landscapes of Nili Fossae” by Ian McDonald: 3 stars. I apologize, I couldn’t find a link to this story.  This is about the theoretical first painting on Mars.  To be honest I really didn’t get it.  I am someone who is super straight forward and logical and likes reason.  So abstract art and general ambiguity are not really my things.  Therefore this story was also not my thing.  It felt like an homage to art and artists everywhere.  Which is great, they deserve it, it just wasn’t my kind of story.

That’s it for this week!  I will definitely be checking out other work by Alyssa Wong and Madeline Ashby (although I’ve heard lukewarm things about Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach).  I’m slowly working my way through these and plan to have a few to post every week.

Have you read any good short fiction lately?

Weekly Wrap Up: June 2 – 8

I don’t usually do a weekly wrap up post- and don’t really plan to make it a habit, but it was a busy week for me and I had some things I wanted to share!

Blood Eye Raven 1 by Giles Kristian

First, I did my first ever guest post for Andrew at On My Book Shelf and covered the historical fiction Viking novel: Blood Eye (Raven #1) by Giles Kristian.  Unfortunately the book itself was kind of a dud, but I had a lot of fun working with Andrew.  On My Book Shelf covers a wide range of topics from writing prompts to favorite quotes, and books reviews from fantasy and historical fiction to thrillers and manga.  He’s got lots of fun, unique content and a little something for everyone, so stop by and say hello!

Books I DNF’d:

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley: I’m going to qualify this by saying, Queen of Kings is not a bad book.  I’m guessing it’s a solid three star read.  It’s just not what I wanted right now.  I read The Mere Wife a few months ago and haven’t been able to get it out of my head.  I thought the premise (Cleopatra possessed by a god and out for revenge) would provide an excellent opportunity for Headley to give me another ferocious and fully realized female character.  Maybe Cleo becomes that eventually, but I read about 30% of the book, and it was a lot of Cleopatra bemoaning her fate and missing Antony and not taking any real discernible action.  Add to that a whiny Caesar Augustus, and I just wanted to move on.  I will maybe revisit in the future, but for now my curiosity is sated.

Books I Finished:

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Reviews to come!

Books Reviewed:

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena: 3 Stars – Not as surprising or shocking as I would hope for in a thriller.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney: 4 Stars – A super fun roller coaster of a ride that I think most readers would enjoy.  A little far fetched in its conclusion, but hey, we’re talking fiction here.  Who cares?

Lists:

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Reads

Pride Month: Favorite LGBT+ Couples and Characters in Fiction

Book Hauls:

Barnes & Noble Memorial Day Sale Book Haul

And that’s my week!  I feel pretty accomplished this week.  Hoping next week will be just as great!