Freedom! Horrible, horrible freedom!

Well, I’ve done a third pass on my spiders, and they are now neatly packaged up and ready to go to F&SF in tomorrow’s mail (aka, I’m setting them free…hehe). That’s one down and two to go for the submission challenge (3 subs in Sept). Submission number two is in pretty good shape, and it’ll probably go to WotF. Submission number three…*shrug* There’s still a fair amount of time left, I’m sure something will come to me :)

Thanks to the excellent recommendations of my Clarion classmates, I’ve been reading tons of great SF lately (in reverse chronological order): Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge, Forever War by Joe Haldemann, Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, Air by Geoff Ryman, and Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. Next up is The Snow Queen, by Joan Vinge.


  1. Well done and now I suppose I’ll have to sub to F&SF so I can read it and have a copy. Eeek.

    You shall have to tell us what you think of all those books, as I’m curious, especially re: Air, Perdido St. Station, Forever War, and Marooned in Realtime. Since I haven’t yet read Spin, I’m less curious about that for now.

    • Somehow when I write what I think of books, it tends to come out more negative than my actual impression of the book. I think it’s that I’m not a very critical reader as I’m reading, but when I’m reviewing something I feel the need to point out the negatives.

      (Oh, and I think some of what’s in here could be considered SPOILERS, so if anyone hasn’t read the books and doesn’t want to know, skip over this post)


      Marooned in Realtime. This one was old-school science fiction with a murder mystery mashed in to drive the plot forward. I enjoyed it, but I think that Vernor does a much better job with world-building and characters in his later books (e.g., Deepness in the Sky & Fire Upon the Deep). For me, everything was centered too much around the ideas to showcase the singularity and technology in the future. Also, the whole thing revolved around Vernor’s ideas about the singularity, and I have to admit to being a tad disappointed that the singularity is never actually described (all the humans just disappear). It makes sense, since the singularity is, by definition, incomprehensible, but it was still a let down. Sounds a bit negative, but it was a good read, and had a lovely ‘classic SF’ feel to it.

      Forever War. Another classic SF sort of book, also fast-paced, and also dealing with a protagonist shooting forward through time (though this time through near-speed-of-light travel rather than just stasis). I really like Haldemann’s prose, it’s very clean and simple (both in this and in the short stories of his that I’ve read). There was nothing too terribly surprising in the book, it was relatively standard SF fare, but the characters were pretty solid and there was always lots of action to pull the reader through the story.

      Perdido Street Station. Loved the first half of the book. The world was wonderful, the characters were interesting, the interspecies relationship was nicely done, etc, etc. There are tons of marvelous ideas in here, the language was beautiful, it was all bizarre and strange and lovely. That being said, I think that the second half of the book was twice as long as it needed to be. I had a fair idea of where things were going well before they got there, and things could have moved along faster. (But even with the end stretching out a bit too long, I think this is my favorite of the books listed here.)

      Air. I loved the characters in this, and the world that Ryman created. The beginning, in particular, was really emotionally powerful. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite able to shake off my disbelief about a live birth resulting from a pregnancy inside the stomach. It drove me nuts because I wanted to settle in and enjoy the rest of the book, but every time the pregnancy was mentioned it pulled me out of the story. But anyway, I thought Ryman did an excellent job of looking at the human side of advancing technology.

      • Yeah, the pregnancy drove me absolutely crazy too. It made me batty. And I don’t quite see what it added to the story, except for the personification of the future at the end. But yeah, it just wasn’t believable to me. Hamburger meat gets digested, why not the fetus? *shrug*

        PSS: hmm. I don’t understand why everyone thought it was too long. It was all the scatological rhapsodizing that made the book work for me at all.

        FW: Yeah, I basically thought that too. I liked it, and at the end felt a little exhausted, but the history of the genre wasn’t rewritten for me or anything. Which is fine.

        I shall have to get to Marooned and Spin sometime. This guy at one of the CW parties went on for a long time about how important Marooned was, and how everyone realised Vinge was someone to be grappled with when that book came out. It’s an early book, so I naturally expect less of it. Most writers don’t produce their best work first time out, and I suspect Vinge’s will only continue to get better the longer he works at it. Which is something, because AFUTD was damn fun and pretty damn clever too.

  2. yay! au revoir spiderlings!

  3. Excellent. Can’t wait to re-read it, wherever it ends up getting published. The idea that the collective foolishness of slush readers is such that a story that good *won’t* end up getting published anywhere is too outrageous to consider.

    And of course mad props for the Futarama reference in the post title.

    (Lots of Spiderlings in circulation right now, since I submitted “Sing, Goddess” to Strange Horizons at the beginning of the week.)

    • I’m glad your spiders also made it out :)

      Now technically, the post title is drawn from the Simpsons episode where Homer accidentally frees a colony of ants while in outer space. The conversation in its entirety runs as follows:

      ant1: Save the queen!
      ant2: Who’s the queen?
      ant3: I’m the queen.
      ant2: No you’re not.
      ants: Freedom! Horrible, horrible freedom!

      But I’ll try to work a Futurama reference into one of my future posts on your behalf :)

Comments are closed