Seasons of Glass and Iron (Nebula Winner-short story- 2016)

Available for free read here

Congratulations on Nebula, and congratulations on tricking me into reading Fantasy.


This story in its essentials, felt like a modern day retelling of two Brothers Grimm fairy tales – Bearskin and Old Rinkrank that I barely remember from my childhood (my memory might as well be wrong here). What I loved about the narrative was the ambiguity that followed Tabitha and Amira, like they were already part of a well expanded universe, the details of which readers are free to imagine. In this retelling or extended act of passing reference, Author intertwined the essentials of both fairy tales into one lovely story, making them female centric and in poles with the original perspective. My ambitious and embarrassing attempts to understand the metaphors are given below.

Number 7, from a Biblical view point represent perfection or completion and number 1 stands for unity or oneness, the numbers which the female protagonists of this story identify themselves to be bound in by magic. So Tabitha before reaching completion of penance(of her and her were-wolf-would-be-man husband) by exhausting the ‘seven’ pairs of shoes, gets to taste the ‘Apple’ of Glass Mountain(which could be argued as this story’s Eden). She then decides to be ‘one’ with Amira and leaves her baggage, thanks to the new found wisdom. And they both leave the safety of Glass and Iron(their personal paradises), for ‘Away’(Earth) with nothing but the company of each other and the sense of freedom.

I think I might have heavily misread the ‘things’, this allegorical reading was supposed to explore the nuances of. Nevertheless the lovely prose will have every reader covered for sure.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti is a Nebula and Hugo Award winning novella and below review covers only the first installment of an ongoing series. An ambitious Wakandan-ish girl, also the very first person from her tribe to leave the planet, is left with the heavy responsibility of universal peace as some Romulans– ish race butcher her Starship,  which was on its way to Oomza University – this story’s StarFleet Academy.

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One is often insecure about his stand when it comes to registering his like or dislike towards a culturally or ethnically diverse work; which often leads to a personally unjust review, under peer pressure or the fear of being branded by the adjectives for intolerance, non progressiveness and their kins. I am unable to get my head around this old school racism or sectarianism, that forms the basic framework of Binti (also some how limited to protagonist’s particular tribe), considering the extremely diverse and pluralistic Intergalactic society, story’s universe is based on.

Okorafor is a really good writer, and I heavily appreciate the prose which consorted well with tribal girl narrative, and the non pretentious word/world/culture building; but as far as science fiction is considered, story is solid meh.

From a whovian perspective, the philosophy of Binti would be something like this – Hey, I can’t accept Martha Jones, but Sontarans are cool.

 

But, Afrotourism? Really?

also,

Bint(d)i- the red dot that decorates an average Indian lady’s forehead.

The Story of Your Life – Ted Chiang

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I wish I had more stars to give and more pages to read.971e4a52d1b2318d04a3c67271b01b43


Honestly this review covers only the eponymous story and I read it after watching first trailer of ‘Arrival’. Expected something of Contact sort, never in my head crossed what it really was during the speculative process of determining what it could be. The writings of a mom to her daughter, those wore some of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I found myself standing in train absorbed in the copy, never caring to check for seats or station.


Big alien ships out of nowhere like Childhoods End all over the world and a linguist is hired by government to establish communication with the visitors. Stuff like Calculus of variation and Fermat principle of least time seems elementary to them, the very stuff I dozed off in last weeks lecture series. Now I am stuck with Whorfianism and sorts like below in my head. Human ear is adapted for the sounds of human larynx and so forth with every other sensory elements, and perception outside usual neurotic receptions would certainly be overwhelming. Also we as well maybe limited in our capabilities and thought processes by our language and senses.

Anything more will be rendition and spoilers. And keep an eye on the usage of tenses through out the read. Totally a non zero sum game 🙂