With a heavy dose of higher-level math and some pretty cutting subcommentary on AR and metaverses, I don’t often come across a an imagined future that is as truly alien world as Liu gives in this story.
Review of Ken Liu, “Quality Time”, Robots vs Fairies, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe (Gallery / Saga Press, 2018): 29-57 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Susan T. (Read the review of the anthology.)
Quality Time follows a young folklore graduate as they get their first job in a Silicon Valley robot manufacturer and try to come up with the next greatest idea in consumer robotics. … It didn’t work for me at all. To the point that I ended up skimming through the last third of the story to make it go faster. The protagonist was unbearable, mainly for how self-important they were and the way that they treated Amy and ignored their family until they had the chance to use them. I understand that it’s a narrative about thinking through the consequences of your actions and needing to put in the time, but it wasn’t my sort of thing, and while I appreciated the protagonist getting their come-uppance, getting to it was a slog.
Review of multiple authors, 10th Anniversary Special, Podcastle: 516 — Listen Online . Reviewed by Heather Rose Jones
To celebrate their 10th anniversary of publication, Podcastle ran a poll to choose people’s five favorite episodes and then re-broadcast them. I won’t be doing individual reviews of these stories, but you might want to check out why people chose these from the entire set of 500+ options:
516a: “Without Faith, WIthout Law, Without Joy” by Saladin Ahmed – A retelling of an Arthurian tale from the point of view of one of the many Saracen characters from the greater Arthurian mythos.
516b: “In the Stacks” by Scott Lynch – When graduate school involves a self-aware magical library, returning a book to the stacks is no trivial task. (full cast narration)
516c: “Saints, Sinners, Dragons, and Haints in the City beneath the Still Waters” by N.K. Jemisin – Dangerous things lurk in the flood waters left by Hurricane Katrina. This was re-aired fairly recently and I reviewed it here.
516d: “Makeisha in Time” by Rachael K. Jones – A woman who involuntarily slips back and forth through time turns her fate into a struggle and triumph for women throughout the ages. There’s a reason this story has been regularly celebrated and praised since it first came out.
516e: “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu – Everyday magic and the difficult journey of the son of a “mail-order bride” to properly appreciate his mother’s love and sacrifice.