A publishing event: Best-selling author Ken Liu selects his award-winning science fiction and fantasy tales for a groundbreaking collection - including a brand-new piece exclusive to this volume.
With his debut novel, The Grace of Kings, taking the literary world by storm, Ken Liu now shares his finest short fiction in The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories. This mesmerizing collection features all of Ken's award-winning and award-finalist stories, including: "The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary" (finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon Awards); "Mono No Aware" (Hugo Award winner); "The Waves" (Nebula Award finalist); "The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species" (Nebula and Sturgeon Award finalist); "All the Flavors" (Nebula award finalist); "The Litigation Master and the Monkey King" (Nebula Award finalist); and the most awarded story in the genre's history, "The Paper Menagerie" (the only story to win the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards).
A must-have for every science fiction and fantasy fan, this beautiful book is an anthology to savor.
©2016 Ken Liu (P)2016 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
While I like a good space battle as well as the next person, I ultimately read science fiction for the ideas. This book is filled with wonderfully crafted stories which examine fascinating questions. What does it do to the human heart when it is possible to suppress emotions? If it is possible to go back in time and witness history, should we do it? What is our real connection to the past?
Be patient and savor these gems. Great stories. Great characters. Loving performances.
very good definitely recommends if only for the title story which is truly unique and touching and superb. there are other stories which are less engaging and perhaps a bit hard to follow. I'd like to think that perhaps I was distracted, but maybe it was the story itself that played a part in my mental wandering during this collection.
Yes, due to the writing quality and innovation.
Tilly and ShareAll in The Perfect Match.
Probably the overall story of The Perfect Match.
Not to tears, but yes in The Perfect Match.
I've read short stories from time to time, but have rarely been really into them. This book contains quite a variety of stories, from hardly any fantasy to a lot of it. My favorite story was The Perfect Match, as it explores possibilities of social media with rather unchecked elements. It was clever, interesting, and enjoyable. I also like that the author doesn't go with a single truth, often, but explores multiple sides of things. As to the many awards, I don't come away from this book in awe, but I do see how the awards were won. The writing quality is truly top-notch, and it presents innovation at the same time. That's quite the combination. Overall, on a pure enjoyment level, I think I prefer the author's book, The Grace of Kings, but more because its a novel and not because The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is any less in quality. If you're not convinced to buy this, I suggest seeing about reading some stories by the author and if you like them, then get this one.
Note: I went to high school w/the author, and have seen him on occasion in recent years (about 30 minutes twice in the last 4 or 5 years, perhaps), so I'm including this note since I've reviewed this book in comparison to other short stories instead of on a pure enjoyment level.
Note 2: I experienced this book as an audio book. It was narrated by two different people, depending on the story, and well done by them.
Incredible depth in such short stories. Excellent power over English from the author conveys stories that in most cases provide intrigue due plausible and well researched science fiction as well as a thoughtful reflection over the much deeper moral contained.
I really and truly loved the first third of this book. I recommended it to about 5 people by the time I was reading "The Regular." That said, I did not feel the collection was consistent in quality. This was a true hit-or-miss for me, with the hits knocking it out of the park - State Change, The Perfect Match, The Regular, and The Literomancer absolutely took my breath away - the kind of stories that stick with you long after the initial read, that you go back to in your mind for reference later on. I started reading this book about a month ago as I write this, and I have thought about the concepts in those stories almost every day since I read them. Liu has an amazing ability to plant the seed of moral questions and step back to let the reader consider the implications of those questions. While he does offer his own insights on certain issues, there is no shortage of material to contemplate in this collection and I never felt like I was being force-fed his opinions. Liu's work demands credit for its ability to delve into moral dilemma and evoke thoughts and questions without doing the thinking for the reader or speaking in absolutes.
Liu's incorporation of Chinese culture and history into the stories was very unique, thoughtful, and informative. In some pieces it worked wonderfully to create a rich and compelling story, such as in The Literomancer and All the Flavors - these were mostly what I expected going into the collection - fiction. A more accurate representation of some of the pieces would be to say that they /have/ bits of fiction, combined with lots of historical detail and philosophical/political opinion. There is much to learn and even more to ponder from Liu's works, but not all of the pieces in this collection are the "escape from reality" that was my initial expectation. Some of the subject matter is very heavy and to really say that, for example, The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary was a "story" would, to me, be missing the point of the work. Liu is skilled at posing complicated philosophical questions and playing devil's advocate. He writes in the way I would imagine a lawyer would write if a lawyer began writing fiction. Liu is able to create a fictional scenario, create fictional controversy, and represent two opposing viewpoints with such credibility that, as you read, you think to yourself, "Yes, this is exactly how this would happen." It is very thought-provoking, but readers should be prepared for some very dark subject matter.
A major weak point of this collection for me was Liu's sense of balance between science and science fiction. I felt the scientific aspect overpowered the storytelling in far too many of the pieces. The Waves was the worst case of this; I made it about 15 minutes in before I asked myself why I was still listening when I had zoned out ten minutes ago. I also felt this in Mono No Aware; An Advanced Reader's Picture Book of Comparative Cognition came in just slightly above the former two. I enjoyed Liu's incorporation of science fiction in many of the other works, but the common thread between these three was that they were almost all science and very little fiction, and as such failed to garner any level of emotional investment in the stories, or my interest, for that matter.
Because I felt this collection began on such a strong note, I am somewhat disappointed by how many of the stories ended up leaving me cold. However, the vast majority of these pieces, even the ones that I did not enjoy as much as others, did offer very thought-provoking content and I am certain that many of the themes and questions raised by these stories will stick with me. I would definitely consider it worth the read overall, but wouldn't judge anybody who skips a chapter or two.
I really loved the narration for this book; Corey Brill and Joy Osmanski did a wonderful job.
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