Clarksworld Magazine, Issue #100

by Neil Clarke (editor)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I could list all the stories/novellas individually since this isn’t Goodreads, but I kind of liked them being grouped together. This is the most popular of this magazine on Goodreads & I can certainly see why!

Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight by [author:Aliette de Bodard|2918731]

I don’t read much Science Fiction or Fantasy. If this isn’t a wildly original short story – don’t disillusion me! I was completely transported into Quang Tu’s world. I felt his grief, I could visualise his sister as a mindship (a new concept for me) The grief was so well handled and I have never seen such complete world building in a short story. An easy 5★ for me.

Ether by Zhan Ran.

Finding out that [author:Ken Liu|2917920] was one of the translators was enough for me to want to try this author’s work.

And for most of this novella, I was suitably intrigued. I felt the story about an abused child/young adult, who was thrown out of his home, but became an alcoholic loser like Dear Old Dad as an adult was interesting. But I just hate the trope both on the page and on the screen of a young woman becoming interested in a middle aged unattractive alcoholic with a red nose to boot! I know it is a common male fantasy, but it just doesn’t happen! For that I had to mark down to 3★

PS; As far as I could tell, the translation was well done.

The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild by [author:Catherynne M. Valente|338705]

Oh, this was a Carrollesque gambol through really colourful word pictures.

Just a kid with hair the color of raisins and eyes the color of grape jelly, living the life glasstastic in a four bedroom wine bottle on the east end of Plum Pudding…

I was so in love with the journey I wasn’t too worried about trifles like plot structures, but about half way through this novella did start to drag a wee bit – just a bit. Fortunately when I clicked on Part Two (I’m reading online) the story recovered its energy. I’m happy to give this Wild (heh!) ride 4.5★

A Universal Elegy by [author:Tang Fei|8065533]

This was well written and as far as I can tell, well translated but this science fiction version of a woman’s madness and her escape from a lives she wasn’t suited to didn’t really grip me. The elements of this tale that were different were more like window dressing really. Just not my sort of thing. 3★

Cat Pictures Please by [author:Naomi Kritzer|345914]

My two favourite stories bookend this review!

This was sweet, whimsical, charming – and above all cheery!

It did make me think about how an AI might know about my life already.

This may be as far as I go with this magazine read but I have enjoyed the journey and will try another Clarkesworld soon.

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