Sunday, July 5, 2015

Books for breakfast

Steampunk III: Revolution (2012) (ed. Ann Vandemeer)

Image from Tachyon Publishing
After a series of DNFs (Did Not Finish books), I latched on to Steampunk III: Revolution. Some of the stories were familiar to me--Paolo Chikiamco's "On Wooden Wings" was even better than I remember (I suppose it's one of those stories that get better each time you read it); Amal el Mohtar's "To Follow the Waves"; Cat Valente's "Mother is a Machine"; but the first few stories, especially were what hooked me in. And they aren't the usual stories I read.

Apart from Chikiamco's story, my favorite was Christopher Barzak's "Smoke City," where a woman occasionally travels to a world "below" to live a life of unfreedom for a year (this, too, is not of her own choosing). This "year" in the underworld is the equivalent of a single night in the world above, where she is free, and does not have to give up what she is compelled to give up over and over in the world below. Other memorable stories are Vandana Singh's "A Handful of Rice" and "An Exhortation to Young Writers (Advice Tendered by Poor Mojo's Giant Squid)," which is a crazy funny story by Nelson, Johnson, and Swanson.

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