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Scattered Among Strange Worlds

af Aliette de Bodard

Serier: Xuya Universe (collection)

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253726,017 (3.95)5
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This book contains two short stories “Scattered Along the River of Heaven” and “The Exodus.” Both are about cultural values, one about revolutions and what happens after, and the other about a diaspora and the generations after the tragedy that caused it. “The Exodus” is also about merpeople and a longing to return to the sea. ( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
Two short stories, well-written and using scifi to explore themes of alienation.

Scattered Along the River of Heaven takes place in de Bodard's Xuya universe in the 22nd century (you don't need any context to read and enjoy it - it was my introduction to the Xuya, not the other way round). Set during and after a civil war in which the underclass of Felicity Station rose up and overthrew their tech-enabled masters, 'Scattered' tackles themes of racism, use (and theft) of language as a social weapon, and fear of technology - which is ironic for any story set in space. However, Wen's fear of anything the bots have touched (her reluctance to accept even a cup of tea) feels genuine and affecting in spite of this. But ultimately it's the story of a girl going to the funeral of a grandmother she has never known, on a planet her grandmother fought to be free of and was eventually banished to - there's lots wrapped up here in a very delicate package. Great worldbuilding - de Bodard hangs a lot on very little and gets away with it by focusing on the social and family themes.

Exodus Tides is a stand-alone tale of Emilie, the half-mermaid living in Paris with her human father and mermaid mother after the merfolk are rescued from the sea. This is not about the evils of pollution, but about the alienation of being mixed-race and growing up in a culture that doesn't entirely recognise you. Emilie could consider herself French (she's half-French, she was born and raised in France), but she doesn't look French and so she feels first and foremost a mermaid. This is very well executed stuff, and makes for a compelling read. ( )
1 stem imyril | Feb 20, 2015 |
...Scattered Among Strange Worlds is a great introduction to de Bodard's writing. These are multi layered stories with a lot of attention paid to which viewpoint the story should be told from and what tense to use. There is also a lot of cultural nuance in these works, exposing the readers to Chinese and Vietnamese culture in a way I haven't come across anywhere else in the genre. I have long since come to the conclusion that I will read anything by de Bodard I can get hands on and I very much entourage you to seek out her work. Whether it be her short fiction or one of her novels, it will be worth your time.

Full Random Comments review ( )
1 stem Valashain | Jul 28, 2012 |
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Xuya Universe (collection)
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Contains a Xuya story - Scattered Along the River of Heaven and a non-Xuya story - Exodus Tides
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