With less than a month before publication, the Internet is abuzz about Jo Walton’s STARLINGS.
At CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Gary K. Wolfe calls it a new short story collection worth reading.
Jo Walton has won just about every major award in the field for her humane and literate novels, but her short fiction has been comparatively sparse. She acknowledges that she’s among those writers not especially comfortable with short forms, and so the stories and poems collected here (along with one play) show a fair amount of experimentation. One of the best stories concerns a TV producer and possible Cold War Soviet spy resurrected as a simulation by a future biographer who wants to interview him, while another describes a technology that enables patients suffering chronic pain to temporarily offload their pain to others willing to share the burden, in this case a young woman’s parents.
That sense of the comic infuses what Walton calls extended jokes, some of which play with point of view. One story is actually narrated by Google, another by Snow White’s mirror, and in another Jane Austen’s letter to her sister Cassandra somehow gets delivered to the Cassandra of Greek myth. But for all her playfulness, Walton offers a beautiful, original fairy tale in three elegantly interwoven stories of a man made of moonlight and his magical effect on the denizens of a village inn.
Andrew Liptak on THE VERGE recommends the book.
Noted author and commentator Jo Walton collects some of her works, including a play, poetry, and short fiction, alongside extended commentary on each entry. Alongside stories of sentient search engines, generation ships, and fantastic quests, Walton musts on the nature of writing and storytelling. Kirkus Reviews calls the book an “intriguing peek inside a fertile mind.”
For BOOK RIOT, Rincey discusses the volume in Ready, Set, Hold: February 2018 (starting at 4:12).
For more info on STARLINGS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story