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Bookray: Starlight 3
by Patrick Nielsen Hayden | Science Fiction & Fantasy
Registered by booklemur on 6/29/2003
Average 7 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by phantomreader42): travelling


10 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by booklemur on Sunday, June 29, 2003

9 out of 10

An excellent collection of SF short stories. Highlights include Ted Chiang's "Hell is the Absence of God", a unique take on the idea of angelic visitation; Andy Duncan's "Senator Bilbo", about political corruption in Hobbiton post-ring; and Terry Bisson's "The Old Rugged Cross", a near-future discussion of the death penalty.

PM me to join this bookray!

The List So Far:

1) BlossomU (Portugal)
2 ) rozenn (France)
3) Caligula03 (CA, USA) (book received)
4) Cyberkedi (GA, USA)
5) Baaic (IA, USA)
6) kestralwing (WA, USA)
7) rmg (UK)
8) fflloorr (Portugal)
9) Leanne345 (UK)
10) Phantomreader42 (AL, USA)
11-ish) fly46 (needs US mail so the order here is subject to later change)
12) ???

Bookray Guidelines
(Adapted from Muffin77, via psychjo))

1) Please leave a journal entry when you receive the book and after you read it. Please let us all know what you think of it...

2) PM the next person on the list for a mailing addy when it's time to send the book on. If that person doesn't answer within 7 days, please PM the one after, and then me. (That way I can move the missing person down the list...)

3) Please try to read the book reasonably soon after receiving it.

4) You can send the book via surface mail or airmail - that is completely up to you. However, please let the next person know if the package is going surface, so they don't worry that it's been lost!

5) If you find you don't have the time to read the book when it's your turn please PM me and I'll move you to a later slot.

Thanks! : )
 


Journal Entry 2 by booklemur at fellow BookCrosser in -- Mailed, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Tuesday, July 01, 2003

This book has not been rated.

Released on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 at fellow BookCrosser in USPS, postal release USA.

Bookray! 


Journal Entry 3 by BlossomU on Tuesday, July 08, 2003

This book has not been rated.

Book had just arrived, thanks booklemur! I will start reading it tomorrow, though the very first story being a Ted Chiang story is making me drool.

11/July, I have nearly finished the anthology, more comments later on, but am just editing this to include the contents of this anthology

Hell is the Absence of God by Ted Chiang
Sun-Cloud by Stephen Baxter
Interview:On Any Given Day by Maureen F. MacHugh
Wings  by Colin Greenland
Gestella by Susan Palwick
The Barbarian and the Queen: Thirteen Views by Jane Yolen
Wolves till The World Goes Down by Greg van Eekhout
The Secret Egg of the Clouds by Geoffrey Landis
Home is the Sailor by Brenda W Clough
Tom Brightwind by Susanna Clarke
La Vie en Ronde by Madeleine E Robins
In Which Avu Giddy Tries to Stop Dancing by D.G. Compton
Power Punctuation! by Cory Doctorow
The Sea Wind Offers Little Relief by Alex Irvine
Senator Bilbo by Alex Irvine
The Old Rugged Cross by Terry Bisson

 


Journal Entry 4 by BlossomU on Saturday, July 12, 2003

8 out of 10


I just finished reading the anthology, and in all it was a great a read. I liked some stories better than others, but I do love all the different settings and ideas I can get from such an anthology. Now a comment on each story

Hell is the Absence of God by Ted Chiang - wow, as the other Chiang story i have read this truly packs a punch, emotional and rational. Great story, so subtle about some details, and so thought provoking. The best story in the anthology.

Sun-Cloud by Stephen Baxter - a hard sf story, about some unusual life forms, but I am afraid I did not care much for it, nor am I totally sure what was the event at the end of it.

Interview:On Any Given Day by Maureen F. MacHugh - an interesting social extrapolation story, told in the voice of a future teen. I quite liked it.

Wings by Colin Greenland - and another angel story, the second in this anthology, interesting but not one of my favorites.

Gestella by Susan Palwick - I thought this was very good, a new ( new for me, at least) idea on werewolves, and a quite bitter and interesting on personal relations.

The Barbarian and the Queen: Thirteen Views by Jane Yolen - ahem, what was this again? Seemed to be 13 scenes, supposedly connected by character names, but could not care at all for any of it. If I missed something which was supposed to be there, let me know.

Wolves till The World Goes Down by Greg van Eekhout - a norse mythology in the modern world story. I did not like it, even if I did love American Gods.

The Secret Egg of the Clouds by Geoffrey Landis - quite lovely,a short short story,a future anthropology story, I liked it very much.

Home is the Sailor by Brenda W Clough - a story about that old old sailor, Ulysses of Ithaca. I liked it very much.

Tom Brightwind by Susanna Clarke - interesting, a elves in 18th century story, nice enough.

La Vie en Ronde by Madeleine E Robins - a woman gets lost into a quite different universe ( or maybe dimension is the better word?): I had read stories before of such mathematical speculation, and this was not particularly interesting to me.

In Which Avu Giddy Tries to Stop Dancing by D.G.Compton - urgh, did not like it at all, seemed to be only sf in that he uses a coy analogy (dancing) for life, instead of writing on euthanasia ( the story is obviously about that) he writes a coded story. No guts, no glory, did not care for it at all.

Power Punctuation! by Cory Doctorow - I liked this very much, a totally charming naive tone, but with some interesting ethical questions underneath, very good.

The Sea Wind Offers Little Relief by Alex Irvine - a pretty complex story on literary analysis and personal choice, maybe a bit too complex to really make an impact, but very ambitious and very interesting. And as an aside I do not know if we can consider the name Edmar to have any unique meaning in Portuguese ( é do mar? is from the sea?), but the author seemed to be unaware that the surname "De Carvalho" means quite univocally "of oak", I kept expecting some reference to it, nope, nothing. It is the type of story where one expects names and their meanings to be clues, it was just that this surname was not. Oh, well.

Senator Bilbo by Alex Irvine - now this was an allegory, poor Prof Tolkien, but I quite liked it, seemed to be based on southern USA on the 1950s. I loved some of it.

The Old Rugged Cross by Terry Bisson - oh, also pretty good, on human ambition and the scenario described here seemed unfortunately all too possible.

I am going to be shipping this to rozzen on Monday, and till then I will probably reread Hell is the Absence of God! 


Journal Entry 5 by BlossomU at on Monday, July 14, 2003

This book has not been rated.

Released on Monday, July 14, 2003 at mailed to another bookcrosser in Lisboa, lisboa Portugal.

And the bookring moves on, now to France and was mailed on the 14th of July, which feels quite right. I have sent it airmail so with luck it should arrive before Saturday, hope you enjoy it rozenn! 


Journal Entry 6 by Mostly-Harmless on Wednesday, July 16, 2003

This book has not been rated.

It arrived on time ! Thanks 


Journal Entry 7 by Mostly-Harmless on Monday, July 21, 2003

9 out of 10

I found this anthology very good and entertaining. The quality of the various short stories was constantly high.

"Hell is..." : thought-provoking, cynical and spirited. Maybe my favourite one. It made me think about James Morrow.

"Sun-could" : imaginative and poetic. The vision of the world by aliens is strange, without the notes I could have been lost !

"Interview : ..." : I found it a little shallow, but the beginning of a reflexion about eternal youth is interresting.

"Wings" : funny, although I didn't understand the end. But I always love stories with angels !

"Gestella" : another vision of werewolves. Cruel, beautiful and sad. My second favourite one !

"The barbarian and..." : funny, but I think I missed the point.

"Wolves till..." : poetic and epic. the gods of Norse mythology in our days gives us a lesson of courage.

"The secret egg ... " : maybe a little conventional

"Home is..." : interresting view of the death of Ulysses, but I wonder about its place in a SF anthology

"Tom Brightwind..." : funny and entertaining tale about fairies in XVIIIth century, completely different from what you may think !

"La vie en ronde" : poetic tale about a parallel universe and how you may slip into it.

"In which Avu Giddy..." : a little shallow, but, again, the aim of the story is interresting

"Power Punctuation" : a mix between "1984" and "Brave new world". The end is cynical but so natural !

"The sea wind...3 : I didn't understand it. Really.

"Senator Bilbo" : made me laugh out loud !

"The Old Rugged Cross" : funny, but I do think that there is something that I missed.

Tomorrow it will go to caligula03. Enjoy !

 


Journal Entry 8 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Wednesday, July 30, 2003

This book has not been rated.

This book arrived safe and sound today. I've added it to my TBR list which you can see on my profile. 


Journal Entry 9 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Sunday, August 31, 2003

5 out of 10

I hate to break with the crowd but so far I really haven't liked the book. I'm going to at least read through the Jane Yolen story as I enjoy her works. The first story (Hell...) completely soured my enjoyment of the book. It was preachy and not at all science fiction. From then on I was looking for the religious underpinnings/sermon in the rest of the stories and finding quite a bit of it. Wings might as well have been Touched by an Angel's attempt at a Roswell episode. The two so far that I've actually enjoyed are Interview and Gestella.  


Journal Entry 10 by caligula03 at Mailing to a bookcrosser in Chamblee, Georgia USA on Friday, September 05, 2003

This book has not been rated.

Release planned for Saturday, September 06, 2003 at Mailing to a bookcrosser in Chamblee, Georgia USA.

I am mailing off this book to Cyberkedi this coming Saturday. 


Journal Entry 11 by Cyberkedi from Atlanta, Georgia USA on Thursday, September 11, 2003

This book has not been rated.

Received this book in the mail today. Looks like a great read! 


Journal Entry 12 by baaic from Edmonton, Alberta Canada on Wednesday, November 19, 2003

7 out of 10

I have been hearing good things about the Starlight series of collections. Excellent

--------

Updated with my thoughts --

Ted Chiang had a story in one of the other Starlights that is constantly recommended to me. I was curious about his story, and thought it a fairly interesting meditation on what would happen if we had more frequent access to manifestations of God. Faced with direct evidence of God's "grace", heaven, and hell, how would our behaviour change? I thought the search for "loopholes" was an interesting side-effect. I was non-plussed by the utter lack of dialogue, though.

I also liked the strong feelings of bitterness wrought by "Gestella," of bewilderment at changing society in "Senator Bilbo." I have just been turned on to the blog that Cory Doctorow contributes to (Boing Boing), and I got a huge kick out of "Power Punctuation!"

Not so impressed with the McHugh and the Yolen. Really hated the Stephen Baxter, but I don't think I've liked anything of his that I've read so far. Oh well. Overall, this was an interesting collection. Probably worth trying to hunt down the earlier ones. 


Journal Entry 13 by kestralwing from Bellingham, Washington USA on Tuesday, February 10, 2004

This book has not been rated.

Received it in the mail today; goes to the top of the TBR pile. Great journal entries so far! 


Journal Entry 14 by kestralwing from Bellingham, Washington USA on Tuesday, February 17, 2004

4 out of 10

I was very disappointed in the quality of stories here. I'm joining caligula03 in that opinion, but I do completely disagree with her perception of "Hell Is the Absence of God"; I thought the story, although it had some interesting concepts, was adolescent anti-religious posturing. Terry Bisson's story was much more a "religious tract," but not a very successful one. I was also put off by the use of ideas and even characters that have been used far better by other authors -- and no, I don't count them as "homage."

I'm not familiar with most of the writers in this collection, but I am a big fan of Maureen McHugh's and so was even more disappointed at the half-baked feel of her story. In fact, the whole book seemed to be "Stories That Nobody Else Would Publish."

(I am looking forward to getting the next journal entries, though. I'm guessing most people will love it. ... And yes, I do love science fiction. I've just read an awful lot of it, for an awful lot of years, and have little patience left for bad writing, no matter how sincere.) 


Journal Entry 15 by rmg from Exeter, Devon United Kingdom on Monday, April 05, 2004

This book has not been rated.

Arrived today! 


Journal Entry 16 by rmg from Exeter, Devon United Kingdom on Friday, April 16, 2004

6 out of 10

I particularly enjoyed Tom Brightwind, Power Punctuation and the Norse Myth story. The prize for most disappointing story, goes to Colin Greenland for "Wings". I've really enjoyed his novels, but I didn't find this either thought-provoking or entertaining. You can do better, Colin!

Should be able to post this off to fflloorr next week. 


Journal Entry 17 by fflloorr from Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Friday, April 23, 2004

This book has not been rated.

Received this today. Thanks rmg! 


Journal Entry 18 by fflloorr from Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Thursday, July 08, 2004

8 out of 10

I quite enjoyed this book, although there were some stories that didn't catch my interest at all :( , such as Sun-Cloud and The Barbarian and The Queen.
For me, the best stories of the anthology are Hell is the absence of God and Gestella. Quite different from each other but extraordinary, both of them.

This book is going to Leanne345 next week, as soon as I get her address. 


Journal Entry 19 by fflloorr from Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Friday, September 03, 2004

This book has not been rated.

I still didn't get any answer from Leanne345 so I'm sending a PM to the next person on the list, Phantomreader42. 


Journal Entry 20 by phantomreader42 from Warner Robins, Georgia USA on Sunday, September 12, 2004

This book has not been rated.

Got this in the mail today. I've already read a couple of the stories, Wolves Till The World Goes Down and The Secret Egg of the Clouds, and I'm impressed so far. 


Journal Entry 21 by phantomreader42 from Warner Robins, Georgia USA on Saturday, September 18, 2004

8 out of 10

An interesting collection. The introduction says "What is really at the core of our genre is argument, is a method for looking at the world by imagining the world as if it were slightly different—or a lot different."
Many of these stories relate to myths, legends, epics, and religions. It starts off with a story of a world where acts of God and angels occur visibly, tangibly, on a regular basis (usually causing massive property damage, which is of course not covered by insurance). It ends with a prisoner exercising his right to be executed in a manner consistent with his religious beliefs (by crucifiction). Along the way, there's a creation myth from another planet, the domestic life of a werewolf, the later years of Odysseus, a day in the life of Hugin and Munin, the two ravens of the Norse god Odin, and more.
The above might be considered a unifying theme for the collection, but not all the stories fit. This doesn't mean they weren't good though. I enjoyed Senator Bilbo, and though I've never heard of the real-life senator by that name, I wouldn't be surprised to see something like this in Southern politics. But I think my favorite was Susan Palwick's Gestella. It takes a look into the life of a werewolf, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes astonishingly like our own lives. The ending is sad, but leaves you feeling for the poor bitch.
Here are a few snippets that particularly stand out:

Perhaps, he thought, it'd be better to live in a story where the righteous were rewarded and the sinners were punished, even if the criteria for righteousness and sinfulness eluded him, than to live in a reality where there was no justice at all
--From Hell is the Absence of God by Ted Chiang
Because that's another thing people don’t understand about your condition: they think you're vicious, a ravening beast, a fanged monster from hell. In fact, you're no more bloodthirsty than any dog not trained to mayhem. You haven't been trained to mayhem, you've been trained to chase balls.
--From Gestella by Susan Palwick
But I know very well that his feet still hurt and he still can't hear the music.
--From In Which Avu Giddy Tries to Stop Dancing by D.G. Compton
The scaffold or the electric chair? The condemned was having a hard time deciding. It was, he said, without a trace of irony, "the most important decision of my life."
--From The Old Rugged Cross by Terry Bisson
 


Journal Entry 22 by phantomreader42 from Warner Robins, Georgia USA on Friday, February 25, 2005

This book has not been rated.

Okay, I sent this to fly46 months ago, apparently forgot to journal it, and haven't heard from it since. I'm sending a PM. 


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