Friday, July 12, 2019

Xingzhou, by Ng Yi-Sheng

★★★☆☆ Mixed

(Science Fantasy) In which we learn of the lives of immigrants to a fantastic city built on the surfaces of stars—stars that are stuck together into a cluster. (5,526 words; Time: 18m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 154, published on .

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

Review: 2019.394 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: I think this is at least loosely based on the history of Singapore (Xingjiapo). We get immigrants from China, India, and more unusual places. We’ve got an imperial occupation, a wartime occupation, and even a liberation movement.

It’s sprinkled with references to classic SF stories. E.g. the young Chinese man sometimes delivers positronic brains (“I Robot”) and he and his girlfriend listen to Vogon poetry (“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”) And, of course, the Lovecraftian (Japanese) invasion.

Con: Although I know it’s deliberate, some of the scientific absurdity bothers me enough that I can’t recommend the story. It falls into an uncanny valley between serious science on the one hand and humorous fake science on the other.

Other Reviews: Search Web
Ng Yi-Sheng Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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