Short Stories of Life

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Book blurb: “Ted Chiang’s first published story, “Tower of Babylon,” won the Nebula Award in 1990. Subsequent stories have won the Asimov’s SF Magazine reader poll, a second Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Sidewise Award for alternate history. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1992. Story for story, he is the most honored young writer in modern SF.

Collected here for the first time are all seven of this extraordinary writer’s stories so far-plus an eighth story written especially for this volume.”

My review:

A wonderful collection of short stories/novellas. Beautifully written and insightful. Although most were more speculative fiction than sci-fi.

My favourite was “stories of your life” which deserves 5* on its own. The alien language fascinated me. Its a heartbreaking story and the anthology is worth getting just to read this one.

****

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Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood

Book blurb. “A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace.

Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection  Moral Disorder, with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace. A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in “Alphinland,” the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists. In “The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom,” a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise. In “Lusus Naturae,” a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In “Torching the Dusties,” an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. And in “Stone Mattress,” a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.”

My review:

Nine eloquently written short tales about the later stages of life. Dark and whimsical, a mix of realism and magic, serious and humour each one entertained me and I struggled to put the book down. Atwood has an amazing ability to bring to life each character with all their flaws, passions and quirks. She writes equally well about women and men and their hopes, regrets, revenge and love all are explored. This book is a real treat.

I would recommend it as a book for everyone to read. Atwood captures what it is to be human, and gives captivating insight as they go through the ageing process. Truly worthy of 5 stars

*****

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