viernes, 7 de septiembre de 2012

Clarkesworld 64, January 2012

(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

I'm way behind with reading my Clarkesworld and Lightspeed subscriptions, a fact that I deeply regret, since I really love the kind of short stories that these magazines publish. Thus, I've decided to start reviewing their 2012 issues as a way of forcing myself to catch up.

I'll start with Clarkesworld 64 (January 2012) and I'll focus on the three short stories included on this issue, which are the following:  

"Scattered Along the River of Heaven" by Aliette de Bodard

The story of Xu Anshi, poet, bot-hacker and revolutionary. A wonderful tale, beautifully written and thought-provoking, reminds me of "The Day Before the Revolution" by Ursula K. Le Guin. In just a few pages, de Bodard manages to tell a story of treason and revenge, of change and tradition, of homesickness and the struggle for power, while provoking profound emotions on the reader:
"All men were as nothing to the vast universe"
I think I'm not mistaken if I say that this is going to be one the best short stories of 2012. Highly recommended.
"What Everyone Remembers" by Rahul Kanakia:
In an apocalyptic world, a woman tries to save humanity by engineering a species of intelligent insects with shared memories. The story is told in first person from the point of view of the first such insect, and thus we can only see glimpses of what the world has become.

In this intriguing and deeply interesting story, the author poses a profoundly disturbing question:
"Did our art and literature help us? No. If its descents create a better world than ours, they will do so because of their inhumanity."
This is the first story by Kanakia that I've read but it had piqued my interest and I'll certainly be reading more of his tales.

"All the Painted Stars" by Gwendolyn Clare:

I had already enjoyed "Perfect Lies" (included in the March 2011 issue of Clarkesworld) which, in fact, was one of my favorite stories last year, and Gwendolyn Clare delivers another very good story with "All the Painted Stars." It is told in first person by an alien, the pilot of strange and wonderful starship. 

The story could be classified as Space Opera but it also focus on the difficulties of the contact between two species: the alien protagonist and the humans that she saves from a space fight. I really liked this story, but I was a bit disappointed when it ended, for it seemed to be a bit too short. In fact, I think it would work perfectly as the prologue to a novel-length story.

All in all, this issue of Clarkesworld is very good and I really recommend it, not only because of de Bodard's excellent story, but also for the other two. 

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