- New Review at LOCUS ONLINE June 24, 20163 books, 3 reviews! A bargain!http://tinyurl.com/z6m6258
- Short Story: "If You Were an Award, My Love" June 23, 2016“If You Were an Award, My Love” is not so much a story as a group of schoolkids drawing dirty pictures in their textbooks and snickering. It’s ostensibly a parody of Rachel Swirsky’s “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,” but unlike successful parodies it has no understanding of the story it’s satirizing. In fact, it’s so full of Rabid Puppy in-jokes it’s well-nigh unintelligible. Scalzi, the Puppies’ nemesis, is there, and an award, and there’s something about rabbits… But there’s really no point in trying to give a synopsis, even if I could. It was nominated to embarrass the Hugo voters, but it’s far more embarrassing for the people who wrote it.Brad Torgersen must be breathing a huge sigh of relief right now: he is no longer responsible for the worst stories ever nominated for a Hugo.And for the love of everything good in the world, don’t read the comments. This is such a near-universal piece of advice it should have its own haiku:Leaves fall from the treesAnd drift away unnumberedDon’t read the comments.
- Visit from the Malzbergs: June 2016 June 22, 2016Starting at the RH side of the first foto and going counterclockwise: Erika, daughter of Joyce & Barry; Quinn, daughter of Erika and Will; Barry M; Deborah; Joyce M.; Will. Then, in the next shot, DiFi and Barry.
- Short Story: "Cat Pictures Please" June 22, 2016“Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer is a very sweet story. Not coincidentally, it’s also the only story in this category not nominated by Puppies, mad, bad, sad, or otherwise. It was added to the ballot after a Rabid Puppy choice, Thomas A. Mays’s “The Commuter,” was withdrawn by the author.An AI that becomes conscious muses about its purpose, and reads science fiction to help it discover its place in the world. It finally decides that Asimov’s Law about “not allowing a human being to come to harm through inaction” can be broadened to allow it to actively help humans. But what happens when a human doesn’t want to be helped?Like I said, very sweet. It’s sort of a shame that I read it so early in the process — I just know I’m going to need something like this as I make my way through the rest of ballot.And on a personal note — What about dog pictures???
- And So It Begins: Short Story: "Asymmetrical Warfare" June 20, 2016This is another entry in my ongoing attempts to understand the Hugo awards:In "Asymmetrical Warfare" by S. R. Algernon, Earth is attacked by starfish-shaped aliens, who then wonder why the Earth warriors they killed aren’t regenerating. It’s an okay premise, but the problem is that all this story has is the premise. There are no characters except the narrator, whose only job is to wonder why the Earth warriors etc. It’s structured like a puzzle, but since we know why humans don’t regenerate there’s no tension, no point to trying to solve the riddle before the narrator gets there.And how is it possible the aliens don’t know that some lifeforms don’t regenerate? Does everything in the universe except life on earth renew itself like this? If you can “split the body cleanly along the midline, to give it two chances at renewal,” as the narrator does, then can the aliens create two of themselves, and what do they do about overpopulation? But there really isn’t any point in asking these questions — this is a story about how starfish regenerate, and that’s pretty much it. I’d recommend it for a kid who’s interested in biology, but as far as the Hugo award goes, not so much.
- New Patricia McKillip Book June 18, 2016The new Patricia McKillip collection, Dreams of Distant Shores, is out. The blurb I wrote for it says, “You are about to encounter mysteries, monsters, jewels, songs, witches, a treasure chest of story. Here are magic worlds, places of enchantment, and a wonderful, lyrical voice to guide you through them.”Here’s something else I thought of since since I wrote that, though this is more about her overall career than a specific book. There are a lot of people writing fantasy these days, but very few who can create myths, who can reach deep into the place where great stories come from. McKillip is one of them. If you like writers who speak the language of fantasy, I recommend this book (or any of her books, really) highly.