Looking forward to the online Nebulas this weekend, albeit with a little trepidation as to how it will work. Well, I’m game to try it. One of the more interesting parts of the weekend is that this year the Nebulas overlap with a professional meeting that I usually attend. I had figured that I would have to choose between them: I could only fly to one city after all. Now, with everything online, I think I can toggle between sessions at the two meetings. Maybe crazy and I may end up with a cranium full of mush, but it’s worth a try. We’ll see.
Read To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers this week. She is possibly my favorite new writer (well, pretty new). I’ve read and loved all of her first three novels. This is really a novella (it’s labeled that way) as it’s only 134 pages (that’s the length of the story, there is extra material at the back). Things I liked most about the book start with the characters. As always, Chambers has drawn a set of compelling individuals that come across as real people. I could see them crowded around one of those small tables in Starbucks, deep in conversation, (well, in non-COVID 19 times), even if I don’t think I could join them. They really do come across as a tight group. She has also done a brilliant job creating not one but four worlds, each with its own interesting science aspects. (And the realistic science is focused on biology and chemistry, which I like.) There were also a couple of things I didn’t like. The plot is rather thin. Okay, in only 134 pages with all the detail on the characters and the worlds, there isn’t much room left, but I would have liked to understand a little more about what was happening. What I really didn’t like, though, was the ending. The storyline sets up several ways for the book to end and – I’m sorry – I felt that the one chosen was the weakest possible. I’m not going to do spoilers, so I will bite my tongue and stop, but that ending was a big let down. Sigh. I would still recommend this book to both general sf readers and especially hard sf readers. It is fun.