Solitair vs. the Hugos 3: Penric and the Shaman

Inglis’s lips parted, closed, thinned. He turned his hands palm-out. “I can give you words, but they won’t teach you any more than they did me. I don’t know if you can understand.”

“Inglis.” For such a gentled tone, it was oddly implacable. “From the strangest hour of my life, on a roadside four years ago, I have been sharing my mind with a two-hundred-year-old demon with twelve personalities speaking six languages, and an underlying yen to destroy everything in her path, and I expect to go on doing so till the hour of my death. Try me.” Continue reading “Solitair vs. the Hugos 3: Penric and the Shaman”

Solitair vs. The Hugos 3: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe

The gods of the dream-realms were vicious, angry, and small. History was filled with tales of their irrational rages and disproportionate vengeances, of cities buried in poisonous ash, of garden-lands laid waste. Annihilation. In her far-travelling days, she had walked in god-blasted wastelands. There were so many of them: a transparent plain that was a city buried in glass, the buildings intact and perfectly visible beneath her feet, but the bodies gone except for stained hollows in their shapes. An obsidian cliff a mile high where there had been farmland and fishing villages a scarce year before. Gardens turned to ash and poison, islands sunk. Once, she had found a child’s gold anklet, half-melted and still encircling a small, charred bone. There had been a charm hanging from the ring: Let no thing harm me. I am Ase Iquen. Everywhere, signs of the gods and their intemperate, petty angers. Continue reading “Solitair vs. The Hugos 3: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe”

Solitair vs. The Hugos 3: The Ballad of Black Tom

Imagine a universe in which all the powers of the NYPD could not defeat a single Negro with a razor blade. Impossible. Impossible.

(The following post contains spoilers. This novella is great; read it first if you can.) Continue reading “Solitair vs. The Hugos 3: The Ballad of Black Tom”

Odds and Ends Shelf: The Dark Forest

“That would be great,” he said, and nodded. “The … the thing you call a belief proposition. I’ve written it here. I want to believe this.” He pulled a neatly folded piece of paper from his breast pocket.

Keiko Yamasuki wanted to explain that according to the PDC resolution, the mental seal was only permitted to operate on one proposition, the one written on the monument at the gate. It had to be done exactly as written, and any alteration was prohibited. But Hines gently stopped her. He wanted to take a look at the proposition the man had submitted first. Unfolding the paper, he read what was written on it:

Katherine loves me. She has never and will never have an affair!

Keiko Yamasuki stifled a laugh, but Hines angrily crumpled up the paper and tossed it in the drunken man’s face. “Get the hell out!”

(The following article has major spoilers for The Three Body Problem and moderate spoilers for The Dark Forest. Both books are good; read them first if you want.)
Continue reading “Odds and Ends Shelf: The Dark Forest”

Solitair vs. The Hugos 3: Short Stories

“Heart attack far too young; poor kid, should’ve eaten more organic; should’ve taken it easy and not been so angry; the world can’t hurt you if you just ignore everything that’s wrong with it; well, not until it kills you anyway.”
Continue reading “Solitair vs. The Hugos 3: Short Stories”

Odds and Ends Shelf: The Night Gwen Stacy Died

“In stories, those who hope to do harm call attention to themselves. They kidnap public figures; they steal potent potions from scientific labs and unleash monsters of their own creation on the general populace. But what about the small and quiet criminals who hope to make no noise in their work? How to save someone from himself?” Continue reading “Odds and Ends Shelf: The Night Gwen Stacy Died”

Odds and Ends Shelf: The Picture of Dorian Grey

“All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.”

“I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.”

“The basis of optimism is sheer terror.”

Continue reading “Odds and Ends Shelf: The Picture of Dorian Grey”