Artificial Condition

by Martha Wells

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I didn’t love this one as much as I loved All Systems Red (there were a couple of lulls) but I still enjoyed it very much!

The book is full of amusing quotes like this one;

Now that I knew something was hacking the security cameras to watch me, I could use countermeasures. I probably should have been doing that from the beginning, but as you may have noticed that for a terrifying murderbot I fuck up a lot.

The entertainment media addicted Murderbot is not doing a very good job of hiding a kindly…heart??? & I love that Murderbot now has a sidekick!

I still have some credit on an Amazon gift card, so I am looking forward to picking up the next installment.

All Systems Red

by Martha Wells

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book turned out to be everything I want in a science fiction book!

Now, before anyone gets too excited, what I really like in my science fiction is a bit of humour (like the Hitchhiker Books) – & this book had it in spades! After a great start, this novel did slow down for a while, then headed for the finale with a breathtaking speed. I laughed out loud often enough for my husband to finally poke his head through the door to ask me what was so funny!

For example:

Yes, talk to Murderbot about its feelings. The idea was so painful I dropped to 97 percent efficiency. I’d rather climb back into Hostile One’s mouth.

I enjoyed Murderbot a Sec Unit, (who reminded me of Marvin the Paranoid Android) develop feelings for his humans whether he wanted to or not!

Definitely my best 21st century read so far this year, & I’m just about to buy the next installment!

Uncanny Magazine Issue 25: November/December 2018

By Lynne M. Thomas

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I was led here after reading an absolutely wonderful poem by Hal Y. Zhang in an issue of Strange Horizons. I’m not sure if Strange Horizons magazines are allowed on Goodreads & I don’t want to find out by having my review deleted, so I will review here.*

From Strange Horizons 22/02/21 Issue
Go Agile I thought this poem was mad, fragmented and absolutely wonderful. Read it on Goodreads 5★

I was so intrigued I wanted to read more. Cardioid for me was not the equal of Go Agile, but it was still an evocative, intriguing poem. 4★.

Now that I am here, I will be reading more.

& here I am, reading more!

The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society
I enjoyed this short story, I thought it was funny and quirky. Wasn’t really what I was expecting from a fantasy short story, but I am a bit of a novice in this genre. 3.5★

The Thing About Ghost Stories I think Naomi Kritzer is a good fit for me! How can I not love an author who manages to work books by two of my favourite authors ([author:Jane Austen|1265] & [author:Georgette Heyer|18067]) into her short story. & this short story captures so well the off-the-wall, almost callous way a caregiver starts to feel about the most beloved of Alzheimer’s/Dementia cases – and the way your feelings suddenly turn back to love. I have never read a ghost story like this one! An easy 5★

How to Swallow the Moon by Isabel Yap. This story is a combination of so many wonderful, magical ingredients – a love story, fairy tale, fantasy and the supernatural with a good dose of Phillipines culture. I was completely enchanted and some of the twists and turns took my by surprise. Unusually in a short story I really cared about the two heroines.

I also read Caroline M. Yoachim’s interview with Ms Yap – she is quite the overachiever – Harvard, no less. I enjoyed the insight Ms Yap gave to this work. Rated together 5★

Monologue by an Unnamed Mage by Cassandra Khaw. I have heard good things about this short story writer and she did not disappoint. A science fiction love fragment. Beautifully written. 5★

Osiris by Leah Bobet I was about to wrap this review up, as I have so many books/magazines on the go at the moment, but then I spotted that this poem was an award nominee…

… which did restore my faith that entering awards on Goodreads data base is worthwhile. Like all excellent poems this one is open to interpretation, & mine was that this was a war survival poem. I loved it. 5★

& I was going to leave but the title of the Valentinelli entry has me intrigued. Just one more…

…but first I have another stray. Martha Wells & her Murderbot series has long been recommended to me & this wonderful little story The Future of Work: Compulsory appeared on Wired. You can read it here https://www.wired.com/story/future-of-work-compulsory-martha-wells/ NB: there has just been a change in policy on how Goodreads handle short stories and poetry published in a non book form (NABs) I’m excited about it but not ready to remove my entry from here just yet. This is a big change for Goodreads & not all librarians are members of the Librarians’ Group.

I loved this story that did remind me (a lot) of Naomi Kritzer’s Cat Pictures Please Quirky & funny is a science fiction sub genre I can definitely get behind. 5★

My Name Is Cybernetic Model XR389F, and I Am Beautiful by Monica Valentinelli At first this story had me giggling, but there is a more serious message behind it. Very well done. 5★

Not so the interview Caroline M. Yoachim did with the author. Talk about being programmed! I felt I was being told how I should interpret the story 2★

Translatio by Sharon Hsu Not science fiction but a poem about culture being lost. Elegant & achingly sad. 5★

An Account of the Land of Witches by Sofia Samatar. This is billed as “reprint fiction.” I did a spot of research & it looks like Samatar started being published around 2012. This story was wonderfully evocative, giving two versions of a truth. it shows a lot of the author’s Sudanese heritage & her multiculturism. Although some parts were evocative, it didn’t totally hold my attention. 3.5★

There is still some non fiction I haven’t read but I will finish my read of this magazine with smile by Beth Cato. To be honest, a poetry title in lower case always makes my heart sink a bit. Poetry fragment. I’m not big on fragments. 2.5★

I cannot leave this magazine without without saying how much I love the cover by John Picacio. It is unusual to see a portrait of a female character from this angle – which denotes power. I love it!

  • * Of course this is my blog, not Goodreads. so I could review Zhang’s poem separately. But I’m so far behind with my blog, that I am not going to edit this review.

The Future of Work: Compulsory

by Martha Wells

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’m starting this review with some exciting news! Edit; well, it was exciting two months ago – I’m waaaay behind with my blog!

Goodreads has had a change in policy on some items previously considered Not a Book (NABs) You can read about it in the Librarians Group Please read the whole thread before commenting, as some things won’t change. (for example no, Goodreads isn’t going to remove old books that don’t have ISBNs, stories like Cat Pictures Please that haven’t been published individually will still be merged into the magazine or anthology they originally appeared in) but little gems like this particular short story will be able to be reviewed. The catch is, when a librarian who does these sort of edits comes across them, the author will be changed to NOT A BOOK until they are published individually or in a collection. But I think this is a step forward as reviews will be preserved.

Martha Wells & her Murderbot series has long been recommended to me & this wonderful little story The Future of Work: Compulsory appeared on Wired. You can read it
https://www.wired.com/story/future-of-work-compulsory-martha-wells/

I loved this story that did remind me (a lot) of Naomi Kritzer’s Cat Pictures Please. Quirky & funny is a science fiction sub genre I can definitely get behind. 5★

My library system doesn’t carry any of Ms Wells books. I’m seriously considering requesting that they start!

The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Do I like this book?

I’m really not sure. Maybe I should have followed the GR reading order, as at the start I was very confused. But this tale of two separate planets, seen through the eyes of the intelligent & (originally) idealistic Shevek parallels our own society. Communism or Capitalism? Which system is better?

I particularly like this quote:

“My world, my Earth is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human species. We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first.

The whole impact of the book took me over then. Overall, this book was a far better read for me from 70% on.

Read with The Women’s Classic Literature Group.

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