Sunday, July 24, 2016

Her Sacred Spirit Soars, by S. Qiouyi Lu

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(Alternate History) In 1949, researchers attempt to harness "oriental lovebird energy" to cure human comas. (5,428 words; Time: 18m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Niall Harrison), appeared in issue 07/18/16, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Meisun ends up hosting the spirit of the bird, and the story is really about her need to find another half, to replace what the bird lost. When she realizes she loves Yaulan (whether sexually or not), the story is complete.

Con: The scientific and fantasy elements clash with each other. A line like "you present compelling arguments for an ECT trial with Oriental Lovebird energy" is hard to believe when it's not played for laughs.

None of the characters is terribly sympathetic. In fact, most of our sympathy is engaged by the doomed birds.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 07/18/16)
S. Qiouyi Lu Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Yeah, "oriental lovebird energy" doesn't pass the say-it-out-loud test. But the story is otherwise powerful precisely because most of our sympathy is engaged by the birds. The bird's consciousness is part of Meisun's, meaning that she continues to feel the bird's loss and that she has to learn (or re-learn) human emotions the way someone with a physical injury needs to re-learn the use of her body. The story reminded me of Le Guin's Nine Lives in that respect. I'd give it at least a 4.

    Jonathan Edelstein

  2. To be useful for people trying to pick things to nominate for awards, I use a system that gives 5-stars to only about 4% of stories and 4-stars or more to only about 20%. Three stars means it was a fine story but there wasn't anything remarkable about it. To get 4 stars, the story needed to have something special about it, either in sophistication or in emotion or something else to make it memorable.

    That's rather different from how people give stars to products on sites like, where 5-stars means "there wasn't anything wrong with it" and most products get 4 or 5 stars. Three stars on suggests a product you'll likely be unhappy with or a book you'll be sorry you read. That's not quite what three stars means here though.