Archive for February, 2011

“The Green Book”, by Amal El-Mohtar

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

“The Green Book” is a story I’d never heard of until the Nebula nominations came out this week, but it’s a story I’ll be rereading shortly.

The Green Book is an actual book, but for at least part of the story, it also functions as the body of a deceased woman, and it’s pages as her voice. And there are only so many pages. There are several voices in the story (or in the book) and they make it very atmospheric.

Text of “The Green Book”

“Evil Robot Monkey”, by Mary Robinette Kowal

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Remember “The Orange”, where I said that it would be faster if you just believed me and went and read it because it fit on one page and why are you still here when you could be reading the story already please go? “Evil Robot Monkey” isn’t that short, but it’s still short enough that why are you still here?

Nominated for the Hugo. The link above contains the text and hosts audio.

This is one of the saddest pieces I’ve ever read, and one of the reasons that I know that Mary Robinette Kowal is a writer to watch. I have not yet read her Shades of Milk and Honey, but I will, and I have her collection Scenting the Dark on order.

“The Cambist and Lord Iron”, by Daniel Abraham

February 12, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s Thursday, right?  Still?  I mean, I was sick for a day and a half, but I don’t remember mornings, so it’s still Thursday.  I’m sure of it.

The Cambist is a moneychanger.  He changed one currency for another, at a posted rate.

Lord Iron is a bored noble with an evil streak.  He goes in to the Cambist’s office with an unlisted currency, and points out that if the Cambist can’t change his money in a certain time period, the Cambist will lose his license.  Lord Iron does this because he’s bored, and it seems diverting to destroy the Cambist.  Hence, evil.

The Cambist does not allow himself to be destroyed.

Lord Iron does not allow himself to be put off.

The subtitle is “A Fairy Tale of Economics”.  I can not imagine another story that would deserve that subtitle.

Text of “The Cambist and Lord Iron”
Audio of “The Cambist and Lord Iron”

February metapost.

February 7, 2011 Leave a comment

I just spent five weeks reading the Codex Alera.  As it’s neither short nor free, I can’t really recommend it here, but I can recommend it.  If you like Jim Butcher’s other books–hi, Harry!–this is much, much more of the same.

Also, I was going to recomment “The Persistence of Vision” by John Varley, eventually, but Best Science Fiction Stories beat me to it.  Go read.

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“Inconstant Moon”, by Larry Niven

February 3, 2011 2 comments

I promise that I’ll wander back to free fiction next time.

“Inconstant Moon” is a story that’s stuck with my wife and me for years after reading it.  A man and his girlfriend notice that the moon is brighter than usual.  Much brighter than usual.  So bright that they figure out that there must be something wrong with the sun…. They spend the rest of the night coping with that.

The story is lovely, and follows very human emotions, as they figure out what’s happened and how to deal with it.  The story is also. . . very very out of date.  The woman, for example, skips putting on her girdle to go out.  They talk about cigarette ads in magazines.  The Johnny Carson Show.

Available in All The Myriad Ways, a collection which is old enough to be available in libraries or used book stories pretty trivially.  The collection has many other excellent stories, including both “The Theory and Practice of Time Travel” and “The Theory and Practice of Time Travel”.