Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Assistant – Adult Services
Genre: Short Stories – Science Fiction and Fantasy
Suggested Age: Adults
What is the book about?: Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award winner Ken Liu has put together this collection of short stories, representing his work in both science fiction and fantasy. Some of these pieces look to the future, telling the stories of intrepid scientists and engineers travelling through space to colonize new worlds. Some look to the past, telling the tale of Chinese settlers in America’s old west juxtaposed with the legends of the Chinese God of War, or how time travel effects the histories of both China and Japan during and after WWII. Liu has written a wide variety of fiction here, often times including lists for further reading based on the research he did in order to write the story.
My Review: I’ve been reading a lot of short stories lately and this was my first time reading Ken Liu’s work. I enjoyed this collection quite a bit not only for Liu’s high quality writing but because his work is a refreshing and much needed reminder that white American authors don’t have a monopoly on science fiction and fantasy. “All the Flavors” showed a very different perspective on the American Old West from the point of view of a little girl interacting with Chinese settlers. “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” was not only a fresh take on time travel but an account of strained relations between China and Japan during and after WWII. My favorite story was “The Waves.” It put all of life into perspective through space travel and the idea of the origin of life story that every culture has. I love short story collections and this one is no exception. I’m looking forward to reading Liu’s longer, silk-punk, fantasy series – The Dandelion Dynasty.
Three Words That Describe This Book: Futuristic, Melancholy, Thoughtful
Give This a Try if You Like… Alex Marshall, Kelly Link, Daniel Abraham
About FDL Reads
Welcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library. Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available. If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently. We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!