I was expecting to write a review covering multiple points that are generally made in these conversations; by the end, I was just angry.Hopkinson's stories are very much about finding one’s place in the world, about battling hierarchies and systems of oppression, and about empowerment.
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What apocalypse stories tend to share is a theme of faith: what it is to have it, what it is to lose it, and how the object of that faith is both constructed and reconstructed in a changing environment.
The first book enchanted with under-explored glimpses of otter islands and hints of Earth origins; this volume continues to offer glimmers of recognition coupled with enough strangeness and unanswered questions to keep readers invested.
Each queer union is as hopeless as its heterosexual and straight counterparts.
If the human species is the protagonist in this story, who or what is everything else?
This makes for an implicit metatextual argument for historical fiction/biography as a whole: you have to conjure one world into the reality of another, and to do so isn't so much about researching and relaying the facts as it is allowing them to calcinate in the imagination.
Mamatas's close relationship to San Francisco and the Bay Area feeds into his descriptions of the city and into the adventures and anecdotes shared by the characters, showing us how we're surrounded by stories and also exchanging stories with our fellow human beings on a daily basis.
There is neither judgement nor condemnation, yet at the same time there is an equal lack of celebration or hopefulness. As such, these pieces are necessarily impressionistic and often dreamlike, sacrificing character and plot in favor of style and feeling.
In this way the title is also aptly chosen, as each story is like a spark that glows as the reader breathes with it—but then fades quickly away By endowing his poor, uneducated, vulgar, and individually characterized caravan guards with distinct and differing dialects, Wilson forces his readers to stretch their expectations of what is possible when they read secondary-world fantasy.