Available to read over at Uncanny.
I can’t say anything else but that this story was a disappointment. Either that or i completely missed something, and it’s not that exciting a story to go back over and check.
So what we have is a planet with an orbital that gets too close to its star during perihelion, but it needs to be mined because it has stuff that people want, hence the orbital.
For some reason there’s a mind ship that isn’t allowed to leave the planet during perihelion and so the ship mind has to be moved to a shielded safe room in the orbital to survive as the heart room in the ship isn’t shielded enough.
I have no idea why the mind ship can’t just potter off a few light minutes away, or shield itself on the dark side of the planet. For some reason, it has to stay and suffer the worse of the solar storm.
There’s also no mention as to why the orbital can’t be moved to the dark side of the planet either. One would think that a civilisation this advanced, that knows exactly when perihelion will occur, would have the simple, basic, common sense to alter the timing and orbit of the orbital to put it perfectly in the centre of the dark side of the planet at perihelion. They could also make that place and time the orbital’s aphelion with the planet which would add even more distance from the star, and give more time in shadow. It really is such a basic thing that unless the writer explains a very good reason why this hasn’t been done it utterly ruins the story.
So yeah, this one sucks.
And now i’m off back to re-read The Tea Master and the Detective, which was my first Xuya book, and the one that set me off on this long literary journey: so it’s nice to work my way back to it and read it again in it’s real context.
As far as i’m aware this is only currently available in the anthology Carbide Tipped Pens, which, for some reason unbeknownst to me, isn’t available on Kindle: yes folks, it appears that the luddites are at it again attempting their very worse to ruin life for us technologically advanced hominids who read ebooks and love trees. But, not to be outdone, i suggest that maybe you could get imaginative with your technologically advanced minds and dream up ways of how you may wish to obtain a copy to read.
And that was my first usage of “unbeknownst” on this website. A lovely old word. Some words are just too good to let fade away.
Oh yeah, it’s supposed to be a review of the story, i know, i’m getting to it, but you can’t get to the story until you actually have a copy to read so that had to be dealt with first.
So once again we’re back with the Galactics and the Rongs and now instead of downloading/uploading dead people into V-Space they now seem to be able to take dead people and upload/download/re-sleeve them into new bodies. Think Altered Carbon kind of thing but i’ve no idea how it’s being done in Aliette’s universe as that bit’s not explained.
The problem with re-sleeving people is that after a period of time, especially if you lost touch with them, you may not be able to tell who a person was or wasn’t. This whole thing would obviously lead to whole new areas of crime with re-sleeved people claiming to be people who they aren’t and claiming things to which they aren’t entitled. This then leads to a whole new occupation, that of people who ascertain the validity of re-sleeved people.
And so, that’s where we are with A Slow Unfurling of Truth. A Galactic has turned up claiming to be someone and it’s very important that the Rong know if it’s true or not: enter the authenticators, a human and mindship pair working together to unfurl the truth.
I really enjoyed the re-sleeving and V-Space aspects of the Altered Carbon books, and it’s great to re-encounter this kind of thing being written by other writers, especially writers as good as Aliette is. So yeah, would love to read a whole lot more of this re-sleeving V-Space stuff from Aliette in the future — she’s certainly created a big enough universe to shove a ton more stories into.
So onwards, onwards we read, and next up will be The Frost on Jade Buds.
Available as part of the anthology Solaris Rising 3 for which someone over at Amazon thinks the Kindle ebook should be almost the same price as the brand new paperback and more than 3 times the price of a second-hand paperback.
At the time of writing this, Solaris Rising 3 was £5.99, Solaris Rising 1 was £4.31 and Solaris Rising 2 was 99p for their respective Kindle editions. I’ve no idea who is setting the pricing on these books but it’s obviously utterly chaotic and i have no intention of taking part in this pricing farce. I’ll wait until 3 is available at a sensible price because i’m not going to pay £5.99 for an ebook.
So i’m skipping ahead to the next book in the Xuya series: A Hundred and Seventy Storms.
You can find this free to read at Aliette’s website.
Another Nebula, Locus and Hugo finalist from Aliette, and having just finished reading it one can see why it was a finalist: very good indeed.
But quickly back to our previous two books, The Weight of a Blessing and Memorials, where i was utterly confused as to what any of it had to do with the Xuya universe, well, in this story they kind of join up a bit. The Galactics from our previous two books have been shooting up/down the Vietnamese mindships and taking them away and putting them in a grave yard in space, and this is the story of the family of one of those mindships going to reclaim their relative. The book begins with a lot of unknowns for a lot of people: memories missing, ships missing, shipminds damaged or dead, places in the galaxy that the Vietnamese aren’t allowed because they’re Galactic territory, Galactic territory that’s only filled with shot up/down damaged/dead Vietnamese mindships.
As the story goes on, things reveal themselves and gain focus until everyone in the story and you, the reader, realises the truth.
Like those previous two books which were great to read — in and of themselves — this is likewise. But — and it’s a big fat BUT — who are these Galactics? Where did these Galactics come from? What’s their place in all of this story? Why are they so against the mindships and the Vietnamese? Me thinks there are some books that need writing explaining this. Or maybe things will be revealed as we read the last few books of Xuya?
That all said, we’re now off to read A Slow Unfurling of Truth.
I admit to only buying this for Fleeing Tezcatlipoca by Aliette de Bodard.
I bought this for Memorials by Aliette de Bodard.
I can’t find Memorials available any where else so you’ll just have to pop over to Amazon and buy the magazine to get this one. It’s a very reasonable price and you get quite a bit of other stuff to read as well.
Just like The Weight of a Blessing before it, i couldn’t figure out any connection between this and the rest of the Xuya stories we’ve been reading up to now. But, that’s not to say this isn’t worth reading, it is a rather good read in itself.
However, i think the problem lies in that these two stories could have been much better presented as one longer story but with a context to it all, some background, stage setting, etc.. I really feel that if Aliette were to do this then it would make a great stand alone novel that would not need to be shoved in, bizarrely, as part of the Xuya stories.
One of the best things about Memorials for me was the perpetuates in V-space, which reminded me of All the Retros at the New Cotton Club by DeAnna Knippling. As i said in my review of that, i would have loved to have more of the New Cotton Club and its retros, and likewise, with Memorials i’d really like to read more stories from the Memorial and it’s perpetuate characters, and maybe similar places hosting perpetuates.
So, after all is read and said, The Weight of a Blessing and Memorials ended up as quite an enjoyable read once i figured out what was actually happening and that they really don’t have any connection to Xuya and trying to find one while reading these just messes things up. So read them as a standalone pair and re-read The Weight of a Blessing again, after Memorials, and you should enjoy yourself.
And now, The Waiting Stars.