Over the past few weeks I have been reading very light fiction.
Kate Atkinson’ Life After Life is a “repeat time but not quite sure are repeating” alt-history English potboiler (mainly concentrating on the emotional ties within a family, and a lot on the interior life of an English upper middle-class woman from 1910-1945 period). I skimmed a lot. Leslie said, “When they have book club questions at the end, that is how you know it is chick-lit.” Enjoyable, and interestingly hard to pin down why the novel can sometimes be grating in terms of the writing. Too obvious, at times?
Some short stories and novellas from the 1994 11th annual The Year’s Best Science Fiction. (OK I got it form the library, and shouldn’t science fiction stand the test of time like other genres?) In order of preference (among the ones that I thought were worth remembering):
- Rebecca Ore, Alien Bootlegger. Very enjoyable, and nice writing. I want to read more by her now.
- Mike Resnick, Mwalimu in the Squared Circle, as an Africanist I found this one was very cool. Would be great to assign when teaching African politics.
- Bruce Sterling, Sacred Cow. Cute short alt-history about an Indian film crew coming to “declining” Britain to make a movie.
- Ian MacLeod, Papa. What to do when you are the first generation that lives a really, really long time? Good, reasonable exploration through fiction.
- Whispers, Maureen McHugh and David Kisor. I like McHugh but this was not so good. Interesting, but too much like what someone would write if they had been a Peace Corps volunteer somewhere.
- Charles Sheffield, Georgia on My Mind. What if someone had found Babbage computing machine, working. And aliens too! Good writing and nice detail, but did not work as a story.