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Currently Reading - The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Annual Collection

7. “Into Gold” by Tanith Lee

For most of this story I was dreading what it appeared it might be - the daughter of a Jewish peddler bewitches and brings to ruin the people of an Imperial Roman tide-pool.

Fortunately this was not the case. Rather, a nifty retelling of a certain fairy tale, and no villain but the curving of fate to tragic conclusion. Ultimately I quite liked this one. [edit] Actually the undoing comes from the protagonist’s anti-Semitism so never mind.[/edit]

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Currently Reading - The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Annual Collection

6. “Fiddling for Waterbuffaloes” by Somtow Sucharitkul AKA S. P. Somtow

The first story I really liked this time around. A story of possession and the fate of the world in 1980s / late 1970s Thailand, at first I thought it was set in the future, until I realised of course the dates were being given in the Thai solar calendar. Which would explain Star Wars playing at the cinema.

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A round of nothing

Been about a month or so since I decided to quit Twitter. Took me about a week to get out of the habit of trying to check it whenever I had a moment's boredom. This did emphasise the loneliness I was already feeling with no one to talk to most of the time - I had been getting a whole lot of what social needs were met filled by friendly interactions on Twitter or even just watching people I liked doing their thing.

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Currently Reading - The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Annual Collection

5. “Against Babylon” by Robert Silverberg

At first this reminded me lots of his story “Hot Times in Magma City” which I’d read in the first volume of Year’s Best SF from nearly a decade later.  Both follow fire-fighters in LA, albeit in the other responding to volcanic activity and in this case clumsy aliens.

Another story of culture clash within the US, the whimsy quirkicality of the Bay Area against the stolid, down-to-earth interior and the gulf of values and understanding between them.

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Currently Reading - The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Annual Collection

3. “Strangers On Paradise” by Damon Knight

I think I would have been more impressed by this story if I had read it a decade or so ago.

Humanity’s first interstellar colony is so perfect they don’t even have disease. Buuut- it turns out they’re lying about the indigenous folk having gone spontaneously extinct a few centuries ago, and almost certainly founded the colony on an act of conscious genocide. Too bad, so sad.

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Currently Reading - The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Annual Collection

2. “Hatrack River” by Orson Scott Card

Not science fiction. Folkloric fantasy of colonial American magic. Not only for the author, but also its romantic and thoroughly uncritical depiction of colonisation and frontier settlement in action am I suspicious. Card’s story “The Fringe” in the previous year’s collection also featured a sort of guilt-free, post-apocalyptic frontiership, so it seems this may be a recurring theme of his.

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