Out of This World Weekend

outofworldsrlg1No, it has not been a really, really good weekend….this post instead refers Carl’s Out of this World Mini-Challenge which is part of Robin and I’s Dewey’s Books Reading Challenge and part of his own Sci-Fi Experience! The mini-challenge has been the saving grace of the day though while I was stuck at work. I got 4 short stories read. I brought along The Starry Rift, a collection of 16 sci-fi short stories edited by Jonathan Strahan. I’m really enjoying it so far! Here are the first 4 stories that I read:

1. Ass-Hat Magic Spider by Scott Westerfield – I loved, loved, loved this story! This is one that I can’t say much about, except for that if you love books (don’t we all), you’ll love this story. This story alone would be worth buying this anthology. It’s a science fiction story for everyone really, whether you think you like sci-fi or not. And come one, have you ever heard a better title than that? 5/5

2. Cheats by Ann Halam – This was a pretty cool little story. If you like video games, you’ll like this one. It’s a futuristic story about what video games will become – a world of full emersion. The story follows a brother and sister who get more than they were expecting when a video game becomes suddenly very real…and dangerous. Very interesting story and I have to say I enjoyed it. It had it’s parts that were kinda like “huh?” but overall a good story. 3.5/5

3. Orange by Neil Gaiman – It’s hard for me to pick a favorite so far between this story and Westerfield’s. So I’m not. One thing I enjoy about Gaiman’s stories is that they’re always so unique. They’re something that no one except for him would imagine on their own in a million years. They have a factor of “wow, that’s really cool!” both in their structure and in their plot. This little story is told through answers to some type of survey or interview. The catch? No questions are given. The reader has to piece together for themselves what the questions might be and what exactly happened. What we do know is that something happened probably involving aliens that caused a girl to turn orange. Well, we know a bit more than that, but I’m not giving it away πŸ˜‰ 5/5

4. The Surfer by Kelly Link – Oh, I wanted to like this one…I really did, but I wasn’t crazy about it. There were a few cool moments, but it just didn’t work for me and at 70 pages, I really wish it would have. There is a flu pandemic taking over the world, but a young boy (who loves soccer) who was drugged and kidnapped by his father are safe for the time being in Costa Rica where they are quarantined. They are expecting the arrival of Hans Bliss in the meantime, a surfer who was once visited by aliens, in the hopes that the aliens will return again. I don’t know…it’s like 2 different stories going on at the same time and was just kind of hard to get into. What I did love about the story though was Link’s obvious love for Sci-Fi with references constantly made to Alfred Bester, Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury and Samuel Delany among others. 2/5

This has been a fantastic reading weekend so far and I can’t wait to read even more stories in this collection! I’ll be back tomorrow with round 2! Thanks again for hosting this Carl!!


10 Responses

  1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the mini-challenge. I’ll have to do one for the Once Upon a Time III as well.

    I have Starry Rift as one of the books I’m going to dip into this weekend. Can’t wait. I hope you have a chance to drop in on the chat tomorrow at 2 p.m. CST

  2. Oh my, I could not agree with you more about “Ass-Hat Magic Spider”…isn’t it just the perfect story?!!

    And I just had to thank you (in case you didn’t see my response to your comment) for being as juvenile as I am! I think I’m just nearing a state of total goofiness from lack of sleep the past several nights. But JP’s comment just about made me pee my pants from laughing so hard!

  3. What a great title! Since both you and Debi really liked it, I’m going to have to track it down and read it! It’s fun just to say…”Ass-Hat Magic Spider.”

  4. Carl, That would be awesome to have another one for the OUaT III Challenge. I have a few great fantasy anthologies. I’m thinking of The Faery Reel and The Green Man. I think you’ll really enjoy Starry Rift. It’s great so far! And I’m not going to be able to chat tomorrow 😦 I have work until 3.

    Debi, It really is the perfect story! I know, sometimes I think that I’m still a teenage boy. It doesn’t take much to make me laugh really. I keep cracking up everytime I go back and read that comment, lol. Poor JP…lol. Hope you get some good sleep tonight Debi!!

    Robin, Isn’t that title awesome? Definitely the most original title I’ve heard in a while. And I can guarantee you that you will love the story.

  5. I’m so happy you love, love, love it as much as me. That one story pretty much convinced me that Starry Rift was worth having πŸ™‚

    My interest weaved in and out on the Link story. I liked parts of it here and there. But it was so long for me to not feel something greater than that. I mean I should have felt some connection by that point, right? But I liked all the sci-fi book references. I know if I had an inkling the world (as we knew it at least) was going to be changing then I’d pack a suitcase or two of books too.

  6. Okay, so now I wish I had got this book for this challenge, and I don’t even like short story collections. I also still haven’t read anything for this challenge… not sure why… Anyway, happy reading!

  7. I want that anthology! And of course my library doesn’t have it, although it almost always has everything I want (maybe the acquisitions department doesn’t know much about sci-fi either…).

    Anyway, I’m off to read some sci-fi stories online. πŸ™‚

  8. I so should have ordered The Starry Rift! Somehow I had forgotten there was a Neil story in it. But even though I can’t use it for the mini-challenge, I’m still going to get it, of course πŸ˜›

  9. Wow, both the Westerfeld and the Gaiman stories sound fantastic. I’ve got some Westerfeld sci-fi in my TBR pile, and am going to have to get around to it soon.

  10. Crap. I just added this one to the wish list. Would you stop it already? There’s good reason I refer to it as my “wish brick”, already.

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