Title: The Paper Menagerie
Author: Ken Liu
Genre: Speculative Fiction, SFF
Rating: ★★★☆☆ || 2.5
This was such a mixed bag for me, more than most short story collections, which are I think necessarily a mixed bag. This is due in part to the fact that Ken Liu is a prolific science fiction writer, and I don’t like science fiction. Don’t get me wrong; his writing is solid and his concepts are interesting. I just didn’t find what he did with a lot of those concepts interesting, because they’re very steeped in sci-fi language, and I hate science fiction.
Out of the fifteen short stories, I really enjoyed State Change, Good Hunting, The Literomancer, The Paper Menagerie, All the Flavours, and The Litigation Master and the Monkey King. I enjoyed the concept but not the execution of The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species, The Perfect Match, and The Man Who Ended History. I was indifferent to or skipped Simulacrum, The Regular, An Advanced Readers Picture Book of Comparative Cognition, The Waves, Mono No Aware, and A Brief History of the Trans-Pacific Tunnel. I’ll be talking a little bit about the ones I liked and talking a little bit about the problems I had with the ones I didn’t love.