|So I read some novellas
||[Jun. 29th, 2016|12:50 pm]
Penric's Demon (Bujold) - I read this before and haven't read it since. Slight, cute story about a boy and his demon. I mean… even average Bujold (which this is) is pretty darn good writing. Maybe this will take my first vote.
Binti (Okorafor) - So — there's a lot here to like (interesting narrator and worldview and cultural connotations)… I kept running aground, though, on the math. Binti is supposed to be a really great mathematics student, thus winning her entry to the celebrated
Starfleet Academy Oomza University as a math major (I guess this is THE university to be in the galaxy; the others don't really register at all??) — apparently this manifests by her and her fellow students understanding the concept of tessellating triangles. And possibly being able to perform simple geometry/coordinate-transform calculations. I… was not particularly impressed by their mathematical prowess. Also, she goes into a "mathematical trance" at one point that sure looks to me like a mostly regular sort of trance; I'm not very sure what is mathematical about it. Anyway, I kept being thrown out of the story every time the word "math" was used, which was really too bad. (Compare Jemisin's Fifth Season, where the science just all seems so much more grounded and real.)
Perfect State (Sanderson) - I mean, if you've read some Sanderson before, you know how it goes. Epic Epic fantasy - check. Complicated magic system - check. Lots of Annoying Capital Letters - check. Gary Stu Hero of Everything - check. And then it turns out Sanderson is trolling himself. Brilliant. It's a little light on plot and characterization and such, but I couldn't stop smiling at all the ways he's poking fun at his own freaking books. It is a thing of beauty. Voting for this above No Award for sure.
The Builders (Polansky) - Grimdark Wind in the Willows. There, now you don't have to read it. You're welcome. Seriously, that was it, that was the entire content of that novella. I did appreciate the author's note in which he totally acknowledged it was a one-note joke. Voting under No Award.
Slow Bullets (Reynolds) - Okay — so, as SF this was actually pretty cool (military transports wake up in cryogenic pods and must unravel the mystery of what is going on in the ship and the universe) and the plot was probably the best of the five. Up until the end. The resolution of the plot made me super side-eye it. …It is really hard for me to believe that it is a good solution to unleash a sociopath with more technical knowledge than all the other people in a society upon that society. The rationale was that he would help the society's technical ability, but it just doesn't seem to me that it is worth having a sociopath in charge of the technology to do so. Possibly it's worth it to them to advance past the aliens, and okay, that would be an interesting ethical question, but I felt like that discussion was handwaved. Not sure whether I will vote this above or below No Award; depends on how crotchety I'm feeling, I suppose.