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Amadan

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Currently reading

Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
Locus Solus (Alma Classics)
Raymond Roussel
Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom
The Apex Book of World SF - Lavie Tidhar, Dean Francis Alfar, S.P. Somtow, Jetse de Vries, Kaaron Warren, Zoran Živković, Aliette de Bodard, Mélanie Fazi, Tunku Halim, Anil Menon, Jamil Nasir, Nir Yaniv, Aleksandar Žiljak, Han Song, Guy Hasson, Kristin Mandigma, Yang Ping This is a collection of 15 short stories from non-US/UK writers. While several stories fall into the traditional SF category, some are straight fantasy/horror, and a couple are hard to describe. Reading this collection is sort of like sampling from a buffet of foreign dishes you've never tried before: some of the offerings are familiar, some are unfamiliar but delicious, and a few are just odd and unappealing. There are a couple that probably read much better in the language from which they were translated. Below is a quick summary of each:

The Bird Catcher: Set in Thailand, about a serial killer.

Transcendence Express: A teacher introduces biological quantum computers to African school children. (There's a bit of the "white savior" cliche here; white Europeans bring high tech enlightenment to poor, grateful Africans.)

The Levantine Experiments: Very weird story about a child used as a scientific experiment. Not really horrific, but strange.

The Wheel of Samsara: Another strange story that's hard to describe. A scientist studies a prayer wheel in a remote Tibetan monastery.

Ghost Jail: Journalist seeks out corruption in Fiji, discovers literal corruption in the form of ghosts.

Wizard World: I think this Chinese story suffered most in translation. A denizen of an online world vs. hackers.

L'Aquilone du Estrellas: This is more of a fairy tale, about a girl who goes on a lifelong quest to win the attention of the man she is in love with, accompanied by a boy who is in love with her.

Cinderers: An arsonist with psychoses; hard to describe further without spoilers.

The Allah Stairs: One of my least favorite stories in the collection. A couple of childhood friends discover that a classmate's fantastic stories weren't so fantastic.

The Biggest Baddest Bomoh: Not so original, but well written: a Malaysian clerk seeks out a shaman to help him win the heart of a woman he's in love with.

The Lost Xuyan Bride: One of my favorites. A PI takes on a job to find a missing girl, set in an alternate history where the Chinese colonized western North America and the Aztecs still occupy southern Mexico.

Excerpt from a Letter by a Social-Realist Aswang: Very short but amusing letter from a Filipino Marxist vampire, with some meta-commentary on the sci-fi genre.

An Evening in the City Coffeehouse, with Lydia on my Mind: A futuristic pornographer films the wrong subject.

Into the Night: An elderly, traditional Tamil man has trouble adjusting to his daughter's world of science and virtual reality.

Elegy: A woman's children go missing; you have to draw your own conclusion as to whether she's right about who the culprit is, or if she's simply gone mad with grief.