Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.
Five months ago, I started a post featuring short story collections written by female authors. Today’s post focuses on six science fiction and fantasy short story collections by women writers living in the United States. Click on the cover image to learn more about each book.
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Number of stories in this collection: 6
Summary: Collected for the first time in a mini-book format are six of Charlie Jane Anders’ short stories that had been written before her science fiction and fantasy novel, All the Birds in the Sky. In this collection, readers will discover the terrible truth about why humans were created. A tale of three wishes, after the apocalypse. A family reunion in which some members aren’t human anymore. A love affair between a man who can see one future and a woman who can see all possible futures.
Excerpt: My father told me a hundred stories that he made up on the spot when he used to tuck me in at night, but I forgot them all and he claims he did too. Intellectual property is like that, he told me once. You can write ideas down but then they get trapped in a shape they can’t grow out of. (From As Good As New)
Author: Yoon Ha Lee
Number of stories in this collection: 16
Summary: In this debut collection of short fiction from one of science fiction and fantasy’s most notable new writers, Yoon Ha Lee integrates tropes of science fiction with elements of myth to create tales that are wonderfully fresh and deeply ancient. No matter the theme, her wide variety of stories are strikingly original and always indelible.
Excerpt: Sakera grimaced. “If only. A necromancer is only as useful as the bones she can call to her service. I promised myself I would only touch giants, who are long gone from the world, and whose families will not miss them.” (From The Bones of Giants)
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Number of stories in this collection: 22
Summary: Three-time Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin sharply examines modern society in her first short story collection. In this book, Jemisin equally challenges and delights with narratives of destruction, death, and redemption.
Excerpt: Pauline dreamt again of the White Folk. She saw how lean and poorly they were looking these days, deprived of their easy prey, and as the hate of the world dwindled and left them hungry. But as she fought the urge to smile at their misfortune – for ill-wishing would only make them stronger – she caught a glimpse of a painfully familiar black face among their foxy whiteness, strong and proud and shining in its own way. A face that was smiling, and satisfied, and full of motherly pride. (From Red Dirt Witch)
Author: Amber Sparks
Number of stories in this collection: 19
Summary: Amber Sparks dazzles with a bewitching breakthrough collection that affirms her singular talent for rendering the apocalyptic and otherworldly hauntingly familiar. With a wild imagination matched only by its intelligence and heart, Sparks’s work is weird and wonderful, utterly hypnotic. In this collection, she illuminates the human urge for a brief encounter with the extraordinary, traveling to the lost places of the world.
Excerpt: If John is three, and John’s mother is six times his age, how old was John’s mother when John was conceived in the back of Al Neill’s pickup truck after a Styx concert in Milwaukee? If John’s parents spend 100 times zero days being actual parents to John, how many days’ total is that? Does your answer change if John’s mother sometimes bought him Mr Pibb and lottery tickets when she stopped at the gas station on her way from work? Extra credit: Please calculate the probability that at his mother’s current age, John will drop out of school and work in a burger joint while playing lead guitar in a heavy metal band called The Slaughterhouse Four. (From The Logic of the Loaded Heart)
Author: Arwen Elys Dayton
Number of stories in this collection: 6
Summary: Set in our world, spanning the near to distant future, the author, Arwen Elys Dayton, explores the possible consequences of advanced medical breakthroughs and how they may shape and reshape humanity. From organ donation to plastic surgery to full bodily reconstruction, these stories take you by your (for now, organic) hand and lead you into a future where the line between person and machine becomes increasingly blurred.
Excerpt: “How do I tell people that I’m so grateful to be alive, when I know they’ll never be able to look at me with anything but pity, or, or, or judgment from here on out?” Was I a perversion of nature to be shunned, or was I in the category of the meek and thus worthy of protection and sympathy? What if I was both? (From Eight Waded)
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Number of stories in this collection: 13
Summary: A woman who dreams of machines. A paper lantern that falls in love. The most compelling video game you’ve never played and that nobody can ever play twice. This collection includes Catherynne M. Valente’s stories and poems with Japanese themes.
Excerpt: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was a high-density pre-baryogenesis singularity. Darkness lay over the deep and God moved upon the face of the hyperspatial matrix. He separated the firmament from the quark-gluon plasma and said: Let there be particle/anti-particle pairs, and there was light. He created the fish of the sea and the fruits of the trees, the moon and the stars and the beasts of the earth, and to these he said: Go forth, be fruitful and mutate. And on the seventh day, the rest mass of the universe came to gravitationally dominate the photon radiation, hallow it, and keep it. (From Thirteen Ways of Looking at Space/Time)
#WomenReadWomen2019 (United States)