Friday, January 13, 2017

Next Station, Shibuya, by Iori Kusano

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(Modern Fantasy) Nagiko lives in Tokyo and loves to explore her city. Her city loves her too and has plans for her. (3,700 words; Time: 12m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

Add one star if you speak some Japanese and ever spent much time in Tokyo.
"," by (edited by Jason Sizemore), appeared in issue 92, published on .

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

Pro: Each neighborhood in Tokyo has its own local god, but in this story, a nameless god who looks after the city as whole takes Nagiko into its service. It has chosen well—she’s ideally suited, and, to a great degree, it’s what she’s already been doing.

The descriptions of the different parts of the city are evocative to anyone who ever spent time there.

Con: Almost nothing happens in this story. The long descriptions may be dull to anyone unfamiliar with Tokyo.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 92)
Iori Kusano Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

5 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Very pretty -- but, as you said, not a lot going on here.

    (First 2017 story read, now that Hugo nominations are done!)

  2. This story has a poetic vibe. There's no real plot or conclusion, though, so it barely qualifies as a short story for me. It warrants at least 2 stars, though, for the quality writing and the interesting POV.


    1. I started off giving two stars to stories with defective plots, but I found I was lumping pleasant stories in with stuff that was painful to read. So I switched to giving 3 stars as long as the story wasn't actually an unpleasant read. Then I added "honorable mention" to single out the better 3-star stories.

      The funny thing is, most editors will deny they ever publish plotless stories, but you find a few of them even in the best magazines.

    2. That's probably as good a system as any. A simple star rating doesn't seem to be enough. For my own purposes, I might start tagging stories with "Good Writing" if I feel they deserve it.

    3. The system I've ended up with goes like this:

      1. Unfit for publication. Contains elementary writing errors.

      2. Persistently breaks suspension of disbelief.

      3. (Average) Not painful to read, but not exciting, and may have plot problems (or no plot), missing ending, etc.

      3. (Honorable mention) well-written but nothing special. Entertaining--but not enough to recommend.

      3. (Mixed) The story has some outstanding elements to it, but there are serious problems that keep me from recommending it.

      4. Recommended. Strong in at least one of setting/plot/characters/ideas and deficient in none.

      5. Award-Worthy. Not just strong, but memorable. Struck me as special somehow.