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Three Cups of Grief, by StarlightHere is a BSFA-nominated short story by Aliette de Bodard, called Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight

It's the first story I can remember written around 3 cups of Chinese Tea, one type each per cup!

It is set in her Xuya universe, in this case in the 22nd Century, discussing the death of a researcher into how to provide the food supply for the civilisation on space ships and stations, and the grieving by her children, and official (who should have received her memory implants, but didn't for political reasons), and the mindship The Tiger in the Banyan.

It was published (and can be read online) in Clarkesworld, and is also available as a Podcast; and it is nominated for the 2015 BSFA awards.

Happy reading, and voting!

 

Links: Aliette de Bodard - Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight - Clarkesworld - Podcast BSFA Awards

 

Douglas R. Hofstadter - A Person Paper on Purity in LanguageI have no idea how this short piece by Douglas R. Hofstadter, one of my heroes (as much as he does my head in at times), managed to pass me by for such a long time. I blame my friends and fellow bloggers for failing to point this out to me ...

But for all of you out there who also managed to miss this piece of pure gold, here is A Person Paper on Purity in Language.

Douglas uses an analogy which as simple as it is shocking - he talks about our uses of sexist language, and on his struggle to change his own usage, by writing an analogy in the language of racism, which for most of us (there's sadly some Neatherthals left, still) is an absolute no-no.

Of course, this being Hofstadter, this is not a straight switch, but with some clever observations of language as well as invented by very believable parables thrown in, and a brief afterword talking about his motivations for the piece as well as his own struggles with the topic.

Yes, I've spoiled your surprise, now; but not your enjoyment of Hofstadter's fine writing. Go read it, and then pass it on.

 

Peter Watts - GiantsAh, joy of joys - here's a Peter Watts story, set in his Sunflowers universe (he is apparently working on a novel set in it. For Christmas, pretty please? )

This is the same universe in which the Hugo-Award-winning Novelette The Island was set in, and actually follows the same wormhole-building ship/asteroid and its dysfunctional crew and AI. Giants is both highly entertaining, and thought-provoking, and managed to surprise me repeatedly, so good going in my books! The story was originally published in Clarkesworld magazine.

But whilst I'm still waiting to get my mitts on Hotshot, his other story set in that universe (as the novel, I suspect, will take a few Christmases to arrive) - Hotshot has been published in a collection called Reach For Infinity - this here at least allow us to whet our appetite...

 

Links: - Peter Watts - Giants - The Island - Reach For Infinity - Clarkesworld

 

Karen Tidbeck - SingHere's another marvellous short story by Karin Tidbeck, published on Tor.com. Sing talks about being, about becoming, and about belonging; and about the price we pay for those. I'd strongly recommend you give it a go (and her other short stories. And her books, inasmuch as available in English. Unless you read Swedish, of course!)

Tor gives us the following blurb for Sing:

In a village on the distant colony of Kiruna, the outcast Aino has worked hard to created a life for herself. The fragile status quo is upset when the offworlder Petr arrives and insists on becoming a part of her life. But he has no idea what it will cost him, and has cost Aino, to belong to the people who sing with inhuman voices.

The story is illustrated by Greg Ruth.

 

Links: Tor.comKarin TidbeckSing - Greg Ruth

 

Ray Wood - Schrödinger’s GunHere's a splendid effort by Ray Wood, published earlier this year on Tor.com.

Schrödinger’s Gun is the story of a Detective, investigating a murder in the mob scene, in a prohibition-era Chicago. So far so default as a setting - but here, the Detective is female (unusual for the time, and even more so for the genre), and has a 'Heisen Implant' in her head, which allows here to see different probabilities, and choose to collapse the quantum waveform if she chooses to - a trick which can greatly help with her work, but which has also torn apart her family. And yes, this places the story deep in SF territory, of course.

My favourite quote was "The cat must know" (yes, this is reference to the cat from Schrödinger's thought experiment). Which, AFAIK, is not true - the cat does not know if the observer is alive or dead, which means he is both?


Either way, this is very much worth reading, in my opinion. Illustration on the right by Richie Pope.

Links: Tor.com - Ray Wood Schrödinger’s Gun - Richie Pope

 


Andy Weir - The Martian

 

Doris Lessing – The Sirian Experiments

 

Ken MacLeod - Cosmonaut Keep

 

Sydney Padua - The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

 

Doris Lessing - Shikasta

 

Tricia Sullivan – Occupy Me

 

Liz Williams - Empire of Bones

 

Thomas Pynchon - Slow Learner

 

Charles Stross - The Atrocity Archives

 

S.P. Somtow – I Wake from a Dream of a Drowned Star City

 

Lavie Tidhar - Central Station

 

Somtow Sucharitkul - The Throne of Madness

 

Ian Sales – Adrift on the Sea of Rains

 

Somtow Sucharitul – Starship & Haiku

 

Peter Watts – Maelstrom

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