REVIEW: “Quality Time” by Ken Liu

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: “Build Me A Wonderland” by Seanan McGuire

Review of Seanan McGuire “Build Me A Wonderland”, Robots vs Fairies, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe (Gallery / Saga Press, 2018): 9-28 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Susan T. (Read the review of the anthology.)

A man with big dreams and a bigger budget is funding a faerie-themed amusement part, and Build Me A Wonderland follows one of the Definitely Human engineers behind this marvel as she attempts to fend off an Efficiency Assessor trying to shut them down. The mix of magic and technology, the humour, the wonder, the way that the park is shaped expressly to their needs, the low-key horror in the background (those poor security guards) – I’m not gonna lie, I kinda expected this to turn into the fae equivalent of Jurassic Park, but I really liked the story it was telling, and how uncanny it all was.

REVIEW: Robots vs Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe

Review of Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe, eds., Robots Vs. Fairies, (Gallery / Saga Press, 2018) – Purchase Here. Reviewed by Susan T.

Robots vs. Fairies is exactly what it says on the tin: an anthology of stories that alternate between stories from Team Robot and Team Fairy – sometimes both fairies and robots appear in the same story, but the stories always centre whichever option the author thinks is most awesome. There’s quite a variety of approaches – the stories draw on Shakespeare, the history of the Old West, Norwegian folklore, shady tech practises, and American health insurance, amongst other things – but for the most part, the stories tend towards the bleaker end of the spectrum, as you might expect from authors exploring humanity through two of the most popular examples of inhumanity. The endings are consistently bittersweet at best, which means that the stories that are mostly positive can feel a little out of place, although there is enough fridge horror in them to satisfy anyone.

The anthology contains:

(Reviews will be linked to as they go live, and caution warnings will be on each individual story!)

On the whole, it’s a very good collection! If you’re in the mood to see how authors explore the intersection of magic and science, it’s not a bad place to start.