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Asimov's Science Fiction, November/December 2017

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CONTENTS Novella "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land" by Connie Willis Novelettes "The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine" by Greg Egan "In Dublin, Fair City" by Rick Wilber "Nine Lattices of Sargasso" by Jason Sanford Short Stories "Confessions of a Con Girl" by Nick Wolven "The Last Dance" by Jack McDevitt "And No Torment Shall Touch Them" by James Patrick Kelly "Timewalking" CONTENTS Novella "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land" by Connie Willis Novelettes "The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine" by Greg Egan "In Dublin, Fair City" by Rick Wilber "Nine Lattices of Sargasso" by Jason Sanford Short Stories "Confessions of a Con Girl" by Nick Wolven "The Last Dance" by Jack McDevitt "And No Torment Shall Touch Them" by James Patrick Kelly "Timewalking" by Michael Cassutt "Skipped" by Emily Taylor "Afloat Above a Floor of Stars" by Tom Purdom "Love and Death and the Star That Shall Not Be Named: Kom's Story" by James Gunn "Operators" by Joel Richards "The Nanny Bubble" by Norman Spinrad Poetry "Apocatastasis" by Jennifer Crow "Your Clone Authors a Sticky Note" by Robert Frazier "Change State" by Ken Poyner "Probabilities" by G.O. Clark "Nettle Coat" by Jane Yolen "How to Die on a Faraway Planet" by H. Mellas "A Myth as Big as a Mile" by Jane Yolen Departments "Editorial: Excelsior!" by Sheila Williams "Reflections: Gog and Magog" by Robert Silverberg "On the Net: Time Party" by James Patrick Kelly "On Books" by Peter Heck "SF Conventional Calendar" by Erwin S. Strauss Asimov's Science Fiction, November/December 2017, Vol. 41, Nos. 11-12 (Whole Nos. 502-503) Sheila Williams, editor Cover art by Eldar Zakirov


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CONTENTS Novella "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land" by Connie Willis Novelettes "The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine" by Greg Egan "In Dublin, Fair City" by Rick Wilber "Nine Lattices of Sargasso" by Jason Sanford Short Stories "Confessions of a Con Girl" by Nick Wolven "The Last Dance" by Jack McDevitt "And No Torment Shall Touch Them" by James Patrick Kelly "Timewalking" CONTENTS Novella "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land" by Connie Willis Novelettes "The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine" by Greg Egan "In Dublin, Fair City" by Rick Wilber "Nine Lattices of Sargasso" by Jason Sanford Short Stories "Confessions of a Con Girl" by Nick Wolven "The Last Dance" by Jack McDevitt "And No Torment Shall Touch Them" by James Patrick Kelly "Timewalking" by Michael Cassutt "Skipped" by Emily Taylor "Afloat Above a Floor of Stars" by Tom Purdom "Love and Death and the Star That Shall Not Be Named: Kom's Story" by James Gunn "Operators" by Joel Richards "The Nanny Bubble" by Norman Spinrad Poetry "Apocatastasis" by Jennifer Crow "Your Clone Authors a Sticky Note" by Robert Frazier "Change State" by Ken Poyner "Probabilities" by G.O. Clark "Nettle Coat" by Jane Yolen "How to Die on a Faraway Planet" by H. Mellas "A Myth as Big as a Mile" by Jane Yolen Departments "Editorial: Excelsior!" by Sheila Williams "Reflections: Gog and Magog" by Robert Silverberg "On the Net: Time Party" by James Patrick Kelly "On Books" by Peter Heck "SF Conventional Calendar" by Erwin S. Strauss Asimov's Science Fiction, November/December 2017, Vol. 41, Nos. 11-12 (Whole Nos. 502-503) Sheila Williams, editor Cover art by Eldar Zakirov

30 review for Asimov's Science Fiction, November/December 2017

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    A soft 3 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: Jim is visiting Manhattan, doing publicity for his blog, Gone for Good, and hoping to sell it as a book to a publisher. The point of Jim’s blog, and his sincere belief, is that things dying out and disappearing ― payphones, elevator operators, VHS tapes, and books nobody cares about ― is part of the natural order, a sign that society doesn’t need these things any longer. If society changes its mind, they can always be brought back. Books A soft 3 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: Jim is visiting Manhattan, doing publicity for his blog, Gone for Good, and hoping to sell it as a book to a publisher. The point of Jim’s blog, and his sincere belief, is that things dying out and disappearing ― payphones, elevator operators, VHS tapes, and books nobody cares about ― is part of the natural order, a sign that society doesn’t need these things any longer. If society changes its mind, they can always be brought back. Books are generally digitized, after all. Or so Jim asserts. When a meeting with a publisher gets cancelled, Jim wanders the streets of Manhattan until a downpour of rain drives him into an old-fashioned bookstore, Ozymandias Books, which appears to deal in rare titles. Jim wanders through the shelves, bemused at the odd variety of obscure books that he sees.Promise Me Yesterday was cheek by jowl with A Traveller’s Guide to Salisbury Cathedral, Herman Melville’s The Isle of the Cross, and a 1928 Brooklyn phone book.Jim ventures deeper into the bookstore, and ends up, Alice in Wonderland-like, following a beautiful blonde woman down a rabbit hole staircase (each step piled with books) to a hidden, cavernous warehouse beneath the streets of Manhattan filled with ― you guessed it ― millions of books, along with a mail chute that constantly spits out more books in a steady stream. Jim’s blonde reappears, conveniently, and Jim gets a personalized tour of this mysterious repository. Despite abundant clues, including several not-so-cryptic hints from his tour guide, Cassie, Jim takes an inordinately long time to realize just what Ozymandias Books is really all about. The name of the bookstore, Ozymandias Books, is an intriguing symbol, but Willis pounds the symbolism hammer too hard here.And all googling “Ozymandias Books” brought up was a headshop in Boulder, Colorado, and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem about a traveler in the desert who stumbles onto a monument to some forgotten pharaoh that has an inscription that says, “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair,” even though whatever “works” he’d had have long since disappeared.It leaves too little to the imagination of the reader (though I did find it amusing that one of the books Jim notices is called The Lone and Level Sands). Cassie’s name is a more subtle clue, though Jim does explicitly wonder if Cassie is a nickname for Cassandra. I’m generally a big fan of Connie Willis‘s work, but this novella fell a little flat. Willis takes an idea ― the intrinsic value and irreplacability of printed books, even the most mundane ones ― and runs with it, wrapping the entire novella around this single concept. I Met a Traveller is simply too one-note and comes across as somewhat simplistic message fiction. Additionally, some librarians have complained in their reviews of this novella that part of Willis’s argument ― that librarians “cull” or discard old library books without checking for rarity or other available copies ― is simply inaccurate. And despite some creative details, including their filing “system” and an admirable mix of the titles of actual lost literary works (such as Sylvia Plath’s Double Exposure) with more mundane titles like a Tiger Beat issue, overall the story just wasn’t imaginative enough to completely engage me. Still, I’d love to spend a few days with this lost book collection! I received a free copy of this ebook from the publisher through NetGalley for review. Thank you!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    A blogger wanders into what he thinks is a used bookstore to get out of the rain. Turns out the building is the refuge for the very last copies of books in existence. The passage from Ozymandias is a clue to the name of the bookstore/refuge/whatever and also a clue to what it houses, relics from ages past, books in this case. The teaser I wrote is pretty much it. I love the idea of there being a storehouse somewhere that houses books that would otherwise be lost forever. There isn't all that much A blogger wanders into what he thinks is a used bookstore to get out of the rain. Turns out the building is the refuge for the very last copies of books in existence. The passage from Ozymandias is a clue to the name of the bookstore/refuge/whatever and also a clue to what it houses, relics from ages past, books in this case. The teaser I wrote is pretty much it. I love the idea of there being a storehouse somewhere that houses books that would otherwise be lost forever. There isn't all that much of a story, though. Guy wanders into mysterious bookshop, looks around, leaves. Overall, it was a forgettable experience. I did like the ending quite a bit, though. Thanks to the fine folks at Subterranean Press and Netgalley for this ARC. Three stars but it's a weak three.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karyn Silverman

    I wanted to love this but the anti-library sentiment was entirely too much. When did Connie Willis become a cranky Luddite? And it’s not culling, it’s weeding, and the kind of library that has the last copy in existence of a book also knows how to check OCLC, thanks for the assumption that we “cull” with rampant disregard and don’t, you know, have any sense of history or any archivists among us. Ugh. (This is the second deeply disappointing Willis in two years. From now on i think I’ll just rere I wanted to love this but the anti-library sentiment was entirely too much. When did Connie Willis become a cranky Luddite? And it’s not culling, it’s weeding, and the kind of library that has the last copy in existence of a book also knows how to check OCLC, thanks for the assumption that we “cull” with rampant disregard and don’t, you know, have any sense of history or any archivists among us. Ugh. (This is the second deeply disappointing Willis in two years. From now on i think I’ll just reread the time travel ones and ignore everything else she writes.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land is a special edition hardcover novella from Connie Willis published by Subterranean Press. I've been a fan of the author for decades, and this piece, though only 88 pages, shines with her humor, sharp wit, and style. I was always the Luddite who swore I'd never own an e-book reader. I adore libraries full of old books. When my university medical library was moving to new digs, I rehomed literally hundreds of th Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land is a special edition hardcover novella from Connie Willis published by Subterranean Press. I've been a fan of the author for decades, and this piece, though only 88 pages, shines with her humor, sharp wit, and style. I was always the Luddite who swore I'd never own an e-book reader. I adore libraries full of old books. When my university medical library was moving to new digs, I rehomed literally hundreds of the deaccessioned books and felt badly that there were, sadly, thousands more which I couldn't adopt. I now own several ebook readers (a pack of Kindles and a Kobo for bathtime reading), but I still love everything about books from the smell to the tactile joy and solidity of sitting down with a book. Neil Gaiman says it so much better than I can (that's why he's a world famous author and I'm a professional labrat bionerd): I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens: as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, more than 20 years before the Kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is. Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar-operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them. The entire essay is available here. Beautiful dust jacket art by Jon Foster. I received an early e-ARC of this book and while I did find an error (Great Fire of London was in 1666, not 1665; it's pretty obviously a typo), I assume it'll be corrected before release. Love the author, enjoyed the novella very much. Four stars. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

  5. 4 out of 5

    angie

    Normally, I absolutely love Connie Willis books. This novella, however, I do not. She may not mean for it to but, through much of the story, there seems to be an outright attack against libraries and librarians, specifically in terms of how books are discarded. The story's pervasive mentality that every book is worth saving (no matter what!) almost borders on insane. Some books became so soiled or so severely damaged they just cannot be saved and some outdated books contain such inaccurate facts Normally, I absolutely love Connie Willis books. This novella, however, I do not. She may not mean for it to but, through much of the story, there seems to be an outright attack against libraries and librarians, specifically in terms of how books are discarded. The story's pervasive mentality that every book is worth saving (no matter what!) almost borders on insane. Some books became so soiled or so severely damaged they just cannot be saved and some outdated books contain such inaccurate facts and harmful and false ideas they do not deserve to be "rescued." Unless someone works for a library and has been directly involved with the discarding process, he or she cannot understand what goes on and that it really _is_ hard to part with some books and not something that is taken lightly. I admit to being a pretty sensitive person so I may be reading way too much into this, but I still feel rather indignant after having read I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land. (I won't even go into the anti-ebook attitudes that are also present.)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Peter Derk

    [Pete cracks his knuckles, starts typing] Before you read this review, if you want to read this book, do that first. It's short, it's cheap, and the less you know about it, the better. The synopsis kinda spoils a significant portion, if you ask me, so ignore that shit. Everyone else who's still with me: First thing, I'd like to say the librarian/library-lover response to this story is pretty disappointing. I thought my fellow librarians were tough, free-thinking people who could take a little crit [Pete cracks his knuckles, starts typing] Before you read this review, if you want to read this book, do that first. It's short, it's cheap, and the less you know about it, the better. The synopsis kinda spoils a significant portion, if you ask me, so ignore that shit. Everyone else who's still with me: First thing, I'd like to say the librarian/library-lover response to this story is pretty disappointing. I thought my fellow librarians were tough, free-thinking people who could take a little criticism here and there. I mean, this isn't like an ill-conceived article about Amazon running libraries or something. This is a thought-out, science-fiction tale from a master. Speaking of, Connie Willis is no enemy of libraries. Doomsday Book is dedicated to a former head librarian at the library where I now work. Connie's name is on a donor wall at the library where I now work. She's been very generous with her time, speaking at staff days, library events, and doing an interview with us, all of which she refused to be paid for. She's a good person, and just generally a delight, and I don't appreciate all the bad-mouthing going on here. If you want to talk bad about this story, go right ahead, but if you want to talk bad about Connie Willis, go right ahead and fuck yourself. *Spoilers Ahoy!* The basic premise here is this dude stumbles upon a book depository, a bookstore or library, which turns out to be a holding place for every last copy of something that's been eliminated one way or another. The ending is interesting, because although you, as a reader, figure out what's happening before the protagonist, you don't quite know that this is essentially a book graveyard, a book purgatory, from which it seems the titles will never emerge. Throughout the story, a character is giving a sort of tour to our protagonist, and she's explaining where all these books come from. And she has some unkind things to say about libraries, that they're all tossing books willy-nilly, and that libraries trashing books is one of the bigger sources of titles in this book hellscape (I've already upgraded from "purgatory" to "hellscape"). And if we step back from all this, she (the tour guide) makes some good points. For one, yes, we soften the language a lot. We don't call it trashing books or throwing them out. We call it "weeding" or "pruning the collection" or the very technical, bloodless "de-accessioning." Maybe that allows us to keep a distance from what we're doing, like we're taking Old Yeller out to "Help him over the rainbow bridge." The truth is, sometimes your dog gets rabies, and sometimes you gotta put him down, and sometimes a book has to go in the garbage. I also happen to know that Connie Willis wrote a blog post about some libraries engaging in weeding practices where the weeding lists were all set by machines. Numbers of checkouts and so on were calculated, but none of this stuff was really examined by humans, or the humans working there were forbidden from going "off list." I suspect a lot of the impetus for this story came from that, and I think this is bad practice and deserves to be shit-talked a little. Also, there's a good point made about the shortcomings of digitization. Digitization works great for the big guys, the classics, and so on, and it works for the very small stuff (a thesis, local history, etc.), but it misses a lot of the niche, middleground stuff out there. You can fill in the title of a book or a movie or a TV show here. Take your time. This story's readers, you all, need to lighten up a little. Take a little criticism, consider what is and is not applicable, and move on with your lives. More to the point, I don't mean to talk down to everyone here about what sci-fi can do, but what sci-fi can do is to take a real-life situation, amplify it, and then show us what out world looks like with the volume turned up to 11. That way, after we leave the story, we can still see some of the ridiculous things about our world as being truly ridiculous. The story presents an all-or-nothing proposition: keep everything or keep nothing. I think the story presents this as an all-or-nothing proposition because that makes an interesting story, and goddammnit, isn't that what a story is supposed to do? Be interesting? The literal interpretation of this story is that there's a tragic thing happening, which is that books are being lost at an alarming pace. That's what you read when you read the surface of the book. However, I think it's most likely a mis-reading of sci-fi when we take away the most literal version of what happens. The thing this book is trying to say, in my estimation, is that we should find ways to be more thoughtful about what we eliminate to make room for new things.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tomislav

    During the 1980s, I subscribed to Asimov’s, while Isaac Asimov was still alive and a regular contributor. I remember his last submission well. Now, every once in a while, I pick up a copy to find what has become of it. Like its sister publication Analog, it's now published bimonthly, and with double the content of its earlier incarnation. This is the 40th anniversary year, and the issue contains a lot of recognized and well-respected authors. In looking at my assessments, I see that I may have a During the 1980s, I subscribed to Asimov’s, while Isaac Asimov was still alive and a regular contributor. I remember his last submission well. Now, every once in a while, I pick up a copy to find what has become of it. Like its sister publication Analog, it's now published bimonthly, and with double the content of its earlier incarnation. This is the 40th anniversary year, and the issue contains a lot of recognized and well-respected authors. In looking at my assessments, I see that I may have a preference for longer works over short stories. Hmm. All in all, it's a pretty solid issue, that makes me think about re-subscribing. “The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine”, by Greg Egan – dystopic near-future novelette projecting replacement of all human labor by automation. In order to continue to fuel consumption, the corporations that run the economy will need to find some way to get cash to all the unemployed consumers. Nice characters, conceptual mystery was somewhat predictable. **** “Confessions of a Con Girl”, by Nick Wolven – In the future, the grades of children and college students are based on their emotional maturity, as evaluated by each other. What could go wrong? This story retreads a story arc similar to that of the first third-season episode of Black Mirror. ** “In Dublin, Fair City”, by Rick Wilbur – In an alternate world war II, Ireland is one of the few remaining European territories not Nazi-occupied. Baseball player turned spy, Moe Berg, travels under cover to Dublin to arrange for the escape of a critical physics researcher to America. Besides being a satisfying episode itself, this novelette has set my curiosity onto the entire series, of which this story is a part. ***** “The Last Dance”, by Jack McDevitt – This short story features a simulacrum of a man’s dead wife. She is so real as to wish only what is best for him. *** “And No Torment Shall Touch Them”, by James Patrick Kelly – This short story also involves a projected simulacrum of a dead man and his surviving family. It is not the author’s fault, but poor editorship to place the two stories back to back. In addition, the characters display a diversity of sexual orientations that somehow rings false to me, as if the author is trying too hard. ** “Timewalking”, by Michael Cassutt – A small biomaterials start-up is the target of messaging from the future of one of the principals. So much interesting background as to actually distract from the plot line itself. Good ending, and true to the character. *** “Skipped”, by Emily Taylor - This short work is a portrait of a woman accidentally slipped into a happier parallel universe. Not much plot. ** “Afloat Above a Floor of Stars”, by Tom Purdom – In a world where every woman can have a male partner who is psychologically altered to please her, and every man can have a female partner who is psychologically altered to please him, humanity may be headed for a speciation event. A two-person, man-and-woman crew is mandated by funding for a long-term exploratory mission. Can they work out a negotiated co-existence by swapping roles periodically? *** “Love and Death and the Star That Shall Not Be Named: Kom’s Story”, by James Gunn – This short story is an exposition of truly alien culture shaped by its biology. I found it hard to identify. ** “Nine Lattices of Sargasso”, by Jason Sanford – This novelette features several interacting concepts – shipwrecks on an engineered human habitation floating on the sea, gene modifications, a lattice device for capturing the experience of a person so it can be sold and distributed to others, and an emergent artificial intelligence. These are deftly interwoven into a plot seen through the eyes of a teenaged girl survivor. Several plot reversals keep the action going. ***** “Operators”, by Joel Richards – This short story is about truckers impacted by self-driving vehicles. *** “The Nanny Bubble”, by Norman Spinrad – Short story involving a kid who ventures outside the electronic perimeter enforced by his parents, and into a pickup baseball game. As much about economic class insulation as technology. *** “I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land”, by Connie Willis – A writer visiting New York, accidentally stops into a hole-in-the-wall bookshop that turns out to be far more than he first thinks. The true nature of the bookshop is revealed in that frenetic interrupt-driven obsession style that typifies so much of Willis’s writing. The novella has lots of cameos of beloved book institutions like Carnegie Libraries, Powell’s, etc. While fun to read, I’m afraid it comes a little too close to being a “cute” story for my taste. ****

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kopratic

    I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land by Connie Willis is about a man who gets lost in the rain and stumbles upon a place that looks like a rundown used bookstore in the middle of Manhattan. There’s a single worker at the front desk who allows him to look around. What the man soon discovers is that this isn’t an ordinary bookstore at all. This is a novella that begs to be read in a single sitting. The plot itself is incredibly straightforward: A man explores a weird building of books. It doesn’t s I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land by Connie Willis is about a man who gets lost in the rain and stumbles upon a place that looks like a rundown used bookstore in the middle of Manhattan. There’s a single worker at the front desk who allows him to look around. What the man soon discovers is that this isn’t an ordinary bookstore at all. This is a novella that begs to be read in a single sitting. The plot itself is incredibly straightforward: A man explores a weird building of books. It doesn’t stray from that concept. What I found interesting was how open-ended it was. Nothing about it is wrapped up. We meet our protagonist as he is lamenting amount the sameness of the Manhattan streets. He has just had an interview in which he argued that books weren’t dying but changing. The novella is about searching…constantly searching for things no one seems to know or have. Even in the opening, the man is searching for an umbrella that only one place is selling. Then, he searches for safety from the deluge. The majority of the book is him spent searching the store, which is a lot bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside, going deep underground. There are books here he’s never even heard of, along with some from his childhood he’d almost forgotten about. I liked the implication that the open ending brings: We are constantly searching for something…for that book we saw in passing at that one place that we can’t remember the name of. Was it on a .org site? What did I search for again? Did I venture into page 2 of the Google results? Maybe page 3? No, no. I think I saw it at that bookstore downtown on 4th street. Or maybe it was 17th street. The book is subtle with its magic. At first glance, there is none. However, you might think twice while Cassie, one of the workers, brings you to the section labeled Fires. IMATIAAL is driven by its themes of searching and loss. The writing is such that it drives the book forward; it’s a real page turner. However, I found the weakest point was with the characters themselves. They seem to be there just to fill the requirement of having them. Honestly, this is one of those rare instances I think a 2nd person POV would have enhanced the experience. The characters themselves were so backgrounded that I forgot about the majority of them, even though the novella is in first person. They weren’t poorly written; they just existed, which I found a little disappointing. I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land is another book perfect for anyone looking for something simple and straightforward, yet with an under-layer of something bigger. Like the bookstore our protagonist finds himself in, there’s more to this book than meets the eye. [I was provided an e-copy of this book from Subterranean Press via NetGalley. A limited edition version is set to be published by Subterranean Press in April 2018.]

  9. 4 out of 5

    erforscherin

    Just okay, nothing special. The central concept — a secret bookstore dedicated to preserving the last copies of all the world’s destroyed books — was vaguely interesting, though I swear I’ve read it elsewhere. I’d describe Traveller as a novella with more high concept than any concrete worldbuilding: I suppose the dream-like fuzziness of the setting and the constant litany of ways books met their fates were an intentional throwback to the titular poem, but the lack of solid answers (or heck, lac Just okay, nothing special. The central concept — a secret bookstore dedicated to preserving the last copies of all the world’s destroyed books — was vaguely interesting, though I swear I’ve read it elsewhere. I’d describe Traveller as a novella with more high concept than any concrete worldbuilding: I suppose the dream-like fuzziness of the setting and the constant litany of ways books met their fates were an intentional throwback to the titular poem, but the lack of solid answers (or heck, lack of solid anything; we know as little about the main character at the start as at the end) makes this a bit too artsy for me, I’m afraid. ----- [Disclaimer: This eARC was provided free by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lou Jacobs

    Connie Willis is better known for her lenthy time-travel fantasies .. but, here she provides a novella, a marvelous re-telling of Shelley's famous poem: "Ozymandias" in the form of a modern day parable. Our unaware protagonist Jim, is a blogger: " Gone For Good" He's come to Manhattan to meet with several publishers interested in putting his blog into book form. On the day of his arrival he is interviewed on the radio. It does not go smoothly ... he somewhat contentiously stands his ground with Connie Willis is better known for her lenthy time-travel fantasies .. but, here she provides a novella, a marvelous re-telling of Shelley's famous poem: "Ozymandias" in the form of a modern day parable. Our unaware protagonist Jim, is a blogger: " Gone For Good" He's come to Manhattan to meet with several publishers interested in putting his blog into book form. On the day of his arrival he is interviewed on the radio. It does not go smoothly ... he somewhat contentiously stands his ground with the host. In keeping with the tenets of his blog ... that celebrates the disappearance of outdated technologies. During the interview, when queried, he pontificates that it would be fine with him if bookstores were to die out .... "because it would mean that society didn't need them anymore, just like it stopped needing buggy whips and elevator operators, so it shed them, just like a snake sheds its skin." After the interview he finds himself wandering in the maze of streets of Manhattan, until a sudden downpour forces him to seek shelter. He stumbles upon a nondescript storefront ... a seemingly hole-in-the-wall : "Ozymandias Bookstore" ... he wanders around and discovers a multiple floored labyrinth containing over-flowing bookcases of obscure and rare books. The all to numerous employees appear frenetically involved in managing the deluge of books entering their receiving department. Jim is astounded by the magnitude of incoming books .. and, cannot fathom the purpose of this obscure "bookstore" Before he can ask the relevant questions he receives a phone call from his agent calling him away for an urgent publisher meeting. Afterward, he frantically and unsuccessfully searches to re-find "Ozmandias" to obtain closure. Perhaps bound books like the pharaoh Ramesses II will inevitably decline and disappear from existence? I would like to thank both NetGalley and Subterranean books for providing this marvelous uncorrected E book in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    The first Connie Willis novel/story I've read that I haven't loved. While the novella length made things punchy, the main character was a cardboard cutout and his change in attitudes was so extreme it was undeliverable. He really undercut the poignancy of the theme for me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Robert Arl

    Five stars for the Connie Willis novella.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Certainly not her best - more a rant about the disappearance of books in our society than anything else. Made me feel a little bit guilty, because part of my current job working at the library involved testing up and disposing books that are too damaged to be in general circulation any longer.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Username

    Read so far: "The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine" by Greg Egan **** reminded me of Pohl's The Midas Plague "In Dublin, Fair City" by Rick Wilber ** scary alt-hist "Confessions of a Con Girl" by Nick Wolven ** Social media ratings "The Last Dance" by Jack McDevitt ** uploading .... new update; read: "And No Torment Shall Touch Them" by James Patrick Kelly another one about uploading ** "Timewalking" by Michael Cassutt **** time travel? Aging? start-up "Skipped" by Emily Taylor *** parallel universes "Afl Read so far: "The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine" by Greg Egan **** reminded me of Pohl's The Midas Plague "In Dublin, Fair City" by Rick Wilber ** scary alt-hist "Confessions of a Con Girl" by Nick Wolven ** Social media ratings "The Last Dance" by Jack McDevitt ** uploading .... new update; read: "And No Torment Shall Touch Them" by James Patrick Kelly another one about uploading ** "Timewalking" by Michael Cassutt **** time travel? Aging? start-up "Skipped" by Emily Taylor *** parallel universes "Afloat Above a Floor of Stars" by Tom Purdom **** seeing the galaxy from outside for the first time "Love and Death and the Star That Shall Not Be Named: Kom's Story" by James Gunn ** seems to be part of a larger universe. not much fun without further knowledge "Operators" by Joel Richards *** the future of self-driving trucks. The same question as in Egan's story. It still deserves a better answer. "The Nanny Bubble" by Norman Spinrad * Baseball story, getting out of the virtual bubble. "Nine Lattices of Sargasso" by Jason Sanford *** this story started slowly, but picked up nicely. Sea dwelling, gene editing, memory transmission, "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land" by Connie Willis *** Made me think of many "Lost book" stories. Unsatisfying conclusion. -_____________ Really good issue!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Even though I've given this a five star rating, it's not first-rate Willis, which is right off the scale. Jim, a blogger, is visiting New York when he finds himself dodging a rainstorm in one of those shops that fantasy readers love. You all know the kind. This one has the oddest assemblage of books ever. Jim follows a beautiful woman through the "employees' only" door, and finds more and more books, until the woman offers him a tour. And, of course, when he has to rush out to go to an appointme Even though I've given this a five star rating, it's not first-rate Willis, which is right off the scale. Jim, a blogger, is visiting New York when he finds himself dodging a rainstorm in one of those shops that fantasy readers love. You all know the kind. This one has the oddest assemblage of books ever. Jim follows a beautiful woman through the "employees' only" door, and finds more and more books, until the woman offers him a tour. And, of course, when he has to rush out to go to an appointment, he neglects to note the address. Again, you all know what happens when one tries to return to stores like this. This is fairly slight but totally enjoyable.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Literary Portals

    Review originally published on my blog: https://literaryportals.blogspot.com/... What Made Me Read It A book about the love and magic of books, in an old bookstore that is more than meets the eye... sounded like it hit all the right buttons for me. The Plot Jim, a blogger who believes being nostalgic for disappearing obsolete technologies (payphones, elevator operators, VHS tapes, old bookstores and printed books no one cares about...) is a waste of time in a modern high-tech society, is in Manhatta Review originally published on my blog: https://literaryportals.blogspot.com/... What Made Me Read It A book about the love and magic of books, in an old bookstore that is more than meets the eye... sounded like it hit all the right buttons for me. The Plot Jim, a blogger who believes being nostalgic for disappearing obsolete technologies (payphones, elevator operators, VHS tapes, old bookstores and printed books no one cares about...) is a waste of time in a modern high-tech society, is in Manhattan promoting his blog "Gone for Good" to mainstream publishers. After a disastrous radio interview where he's berated for thinking the Cloud is the obvious answer to closed down bookstores, Jim gets caught in a rainstorm on his way to the hotel. To escape the downpour he seeks refuge inside a small secondhand bookstore, a stereotype of the rapidly disappearing bookshops he had just been scolded about, crammed full of disorganized dusty old books with obscure titles and no price tags. But "Ozymandias Books" is not what it seems. When Jim follows a pretty woman through an employees-only door, he finds himself inside a cavernous warehouse deep underground, surrounded by labyrinthic over-flowing bookcases of rare books, with a mail-like chute constantly spiting out more books in a steady stream... The Good "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land" is a short novelette with an interesting premise: a Tardis-like bookstore (bigger on the inside than it is on the outside) tasked with preserving the very last copy of destroyed books, lost to the world through time, natural and man-made disasters, neglect and a general lack of interest. Even though it's a quick read, it's meant as a cautionary tale on the value of the printed word in a digital age where ebooks are increasingly more popular than physical books. "I Met a Traveller..." is a story of nostalgia and rediscovery of lost things and the importance of valuing what we take for granted. The Not So Good Unfortunately "I Met a Traveller..." fails to fulfill its potential. There's no real plot to speak of - half the story is a detailed description of a cynical blogger exploring infinite shelves and the other half has him searching online for the lost bookstore. There's no conflict and no resolution - the book finishes abruptly with the same unanswered questions it started with and nothing about it is wrapped up. There's no character development - they're all one dimensional, uninteresting, forgettable and almost irrelevant. Despite a promising start, the novelette quickly degenerates into a heavy-handed didactic essay, with never-ending lists of obscure book titles and every conceivable cause for printed books damage: war, flood, fire, earthquakes, accident, time, decay, willful destruction, negligence, toddlers, reader abuse... all delivered in a tedious info dump style. The novelette also feels like an excuse to name-drop mainstream publishers and bookstores. Ironically, even though "I Met a Traveller..." struggles to make a point about the preferable value of printed books over their digital versions, by listing all the myriad ways by which a physical book can be destroyed and lost forever only reinforces the benefits of digitalizing books. Also of note: many librarian reviewers censure the author for being too harsh on libraries, giving an inaccurate view of library collection policies and how they handle book culling/weeding. Having no personal experience as a librarian I can't say either way but it's still something to keep in mind. "I Met a Traveller..." is not a bad novelette but I've read short stories that were deeper than this one in both plot and character development. It has a good premise but its potential is wasted with unrealized concepts. Final Rating 2 of 5 stars "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land" is a quick read, thought provoking novelette about the love for the printed word. Recommended for those who enjoy stories about traditional bookstores, libraries and books.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brad McKenna

    Novella "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land" by Connie Willis Where do books go to die? This book is a bibliophile’s dream. An author stumbles into one of those hole in the wall bookshops in NYC only to find it’s much larger on the inside. I don’t know why but Ms. Willis always is an unexpectedly good read. Though, I was confused that her protagonist was a male. I think that’s a trend that is slow to fade. It should pick up the pace. Novelettes "The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine" by Greg Novella "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land" by Connie Willis Where do books go to die? This book is a bibliophile’s dream. An author stumbles into one of those hole in the wall bookshops in NYC only to find it’s much larger on the inside. I don’t know why but Ms. Willis always is an unexpectedly good read. Though, I was confused that her protagonist was a male. I think that’s a trend that is slow to fade. It should pick up the pace. Novelettes "The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine" by Greg Egan Technology’s making human jobs extraneous and a dude is fired. I had a hard time liking this story because I didn’t care for the main character. "In Dublin, Fair City" by Rick Wilber An alternate history (perhaps) where ballplayer Moe Berg is a spy. It was an interesting story. "Nine Lattices of Sargasso" by Jason Sanford AI and genetic engineering in a post-apocalyptic future. A female lead written by a male author. I like this trend. And the writing was solid, too. Short Stories "Confessions of a Con Girl" by Nick Wolven A senior thesis, whose topic escapes me. Though it did continue the trend of female protagonists written by men. "The Last Dance" by Jack McDevitt "And No Torment Shall Touch Them" by James Patrick Kelly A girl’s grandfather partner’s with a tech firm to upload his consciousness, sorta, after he dies. Some openly gay characters and some hints at rejuvenations were good. But the execution was a little rough for me. "Timewalking" by Michael Cassutt What if there was something more to sleepwalking? Interesting concept but I didn’t find the main character very likable. "Skipped" by Emily Taylor Space travel can cause skipping into parallel dimensions. Interesting concept with an ambiguous ending. "Afloat Above a Floor of Stars" by Tom Purdom A trip that takes 100s of years upward from the galactic plane. The purpose is to record people’s thoughts upon seeing the Milky Way from above. Awesome concept but the side-plot of being able to change personalities to bend the gender roles was a little weak for me. "Love and Death and the Star That Shall Not Be Named: Kom's Story" by James Gunn Exploring a non-bipedal species with that species as the narrator. He finds a human and we get a little misdirection in descriptions. It was an interesting story. "Operators" by Joel Richards The only thing that makes this one Sci-fi is the self-driving trucks. It’s more of a story to make you ask questions of the moral obligation of companies to the people they replace with technology. Pretty good stuff. "The Nanny Bubble" by Norman Spinrad If a kid only has virtual reality and a gated community will he risk getting in trouble to play a pickup game of ball? Pretty solid kid-narrated story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eve

    Ozymandias by Percy Bysse Shelley I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand, Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed; And on the pedestal, these words appear: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Work Ozymandias by Percy Bysse Shelley I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand, Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed; And on the pedestal, these words appear: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.” I expected, after reading this neat novella, to have been persuaded to the opinion that print is sacred and that e-books are evil, as the aforementioned radio host declares. The media of the present can become degraded over time; therefore, the digital books of today might be unreadable tomorrow which means that its contents, if not backed up, would be forever gone. I'm not sure what message, if any, Willis was trying to prove. But whether in print form or digital - books are precious to me for their content. Yet, Jim's journey through the vast expanse of Ozymandias, which is full of books he has never heard of - "rescued" from fires, estate sales, and other disasters - fetishizes the printed word. The demise of any physical book is portrayed as tragic. But most of the books in Ozymandias have titles such as How to Remodel Your Patio, No Effort Weight Loss, a 1928 Brooklyn phone book. In other words - they are not worth saving. The vast wasteland of forgotten books doesn't inspire as much sadness as I thought it would. Like Ozymandias of the Shelley poem - these books are the last vestiges of a dead empire.

  19. 4 out of 5

    William Leight

    Connie Willis is one of my favorites but this was pretty awful. The main character holds the ridiculous view that everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, and that therefore anything we (as a society) lose is something that we didn’t need and are indeed probably better off without, a viewpoint which extends from buggy-whips to what this book really cares about, books. Willis, on the other hand, has the equally ridiculous viewpoint that every book is something precious that Connie Willis is one of my favorites but this was pretty awful. The main character holds the ridiculous view that everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, and that therefore anything we (as a society) lose is something that we didn’t need and are indeed probably better off without, a viewpoint which extends from buggy-whips to what this book really cares about, books. Willis, on the other hand, has the equally ridiculous viewpoint that every book is something precious that we ought to keep. She tries to demonstrate this by bringing our hero to a second-hand bookstore that also contains a morgue for dead books, but the only real books of any interest that have ended up here are those that burned with the first St. Paul’s Cathedral in the Great Fire of London, over three hundred years ago. The vast majority of books in such a place would presumably be similar to the warning of the coming debasement of the dollar, published in the 1980s, that I ran across in a second-hand bookstore shortly after reading this, a book that, frankly, the world would probably be better off for not having any more of. (There are also, of course, books that never get printed, being destroyed by their authors, or somebody connected with them, before that stage, but that’s a different issue: it's hard to say that society lost a book that nobody aside from its author ever read.) Plus, the endless references to Wheeler Field, where American planes at Pearl Harbor were stored for safekeeping in a fashion that made them easy for the Japanese to destroy, were quite annoying, and not particularly applicable to the question of digitizing books. To top it off, the story is so obvious about its preaching that it leaves no room for character or plot or anything that would make it worth reading. A really significant disappointment.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews

    This is the coolest novella that I've read in a long time! It looks at the argument between print books and digital books. Books are written every single day. Throughout history, billions of books have slipped through the cracks, lost forever due to war and disaster. What if books weren't destroyed in wars? What if books weren't destroyed in massive fires or floods? This novella looks at all of those things and more. Imagine being able to go to a store where all of the books ever written are sit This is the coolest novella that I've read in a long time! It looks at the argument between print books and digital books. Books are written every single day. Throughout history, billions of books have slipped through the cracks, lost forever due to war and disaster. What if books weren't destroyed in wars? What if books weren't destroyed in massive fires or floods? This novella looks at all of those things and more. Imagine being able to go to a store where all of the books ever written are sitting on its shelves. Imagine seeing books written by familiar authors that you didn't know existed because they were supposedly lost in tragic events. Jim is in New York to shop a book based on his blog–Gone for Good–premised on the fact that being nostalgic for things that have disappeared is ridiculous. Jim misses an interview with a radio personality who defends print books. It starts raining and Jim ducks into an extraordinary bookshop. Once inside he discovers a massive amount of rare books. While this novella is short, it packs a most powerful punch. It leaves you thinking about your book collection, and those books you discarded long ago. Where are those books? What happened to the books after you sold or donated them? Jim is a solid lead character. The supporting cast keeps the reader interested. The dialogue feels real. I can't get this book out of my head. I will be thinking about it for a long time. It's that good, guys! It's magic! The cover is dope, too!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angelwings COFFEE + BOOKS=HEAVEN

    I have been thinking about my review, its ironic since this book is only 86 pages long. But this may have been the most IMPORTANT 86 pages I have read in a long time. What happens to stories , to the words of an author , to the soul that is put into a story when time , circumstances or even people decide the words are too old , or not important , or have nothing left to offer? This little book that I myself almost passed by but decided to read was a punch to my heart. If you are a book lover , th I have been thinking about my review, its ironic since this book is only 86 pages long. But this may have been the most IMPORTANT 86 pages I have read in a long time. What happens to stories , to the words of an author , to the soul that is put into a story when time , circumstances or even people decide the words are too old , or not important , or have nothing left to offer? This little book that I myself almost passed by but decided to read was a punch to my heart. If you are a book lover , this book is a must!! Connie Willis gives us a lesson on what it is to be apathetic to by gone ideas , literature , to "old fashioned" thoughts that we may are no longer useful. Is it wrong that mid way through this book I got a knot in my throat that ultimately ended in tears? I dont know . I still feel a bit melancholy. However I will never look at a book that is older or maybe one that is not as popular and dismiss them as not worth my time, in lieu of getting the "latest" more popular , even prettier covered books again. I never realized how shallow book wise I was until this.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    A quick read novella in which our hero visits a mysterious bookstore which seems to contain every book which has vanished from the earth. If the last copy of a English-language book is somehow destroyed, by causes such as time, war, flood, toddler, or de-acquisition, a copy simply appears here, as a sort of morgue for the written word. (Similar branches are referenced for other languages as well.) True for last century's pulpy dreck as well as the lost works of Shakespeare. It's an almost medita A quick read novella in which our hero visits a mysterious bookstore which seems to contain every book which has vanished from the earth. If the last copy of a English-language book is somehow destroyed, by causes such as time, war, flood, toddler, or de-acquisition, a copy simply appears here, as a sort of morgue for the written word. (Similar branches are referenced for other languages as well.) True for last century's pulpy dreck as well as the lost works of Shakespeare. It's an almost meditative piece, as our hero is slower on the uptake than we are to what's going on. It asks us to consider all of these words, carefully written and printed, now lost forever. Some dearly loved by a generation of readers, others never any good or never even read. I don't know that I buy the idea that this is a huge tragedy -- books are mortal as are humans, though some have much longer lifespans. To everything there is a season, eh? But it's worth the thought.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dean Karpowicz

    Excellent stories by Wolven, McDevitt, James Patrick Kelly, Emily Taylor, and Norman Spinrad. Standouts inlcude "Confessions of a Con Girl," "The Nanny Bubble," and "And No Torment Shall Touch Them." There are a couple that are set in already-established universes, and these are less compelling, more like a teaser for some of the stable writers ("Love and Death and the Star That Shall Not Be Named: Kom's Story" by James Gunn and the novelette "In Dublin, Fair City" by Rick Wilber are good example Excellent stories by Wolven, McDevitt, James Patrick Kelly, Emily Taylor, and Norman Spinrad. Standouts inlcude "Confessions of a Con Girl," "The Nanny Bubble," and "And No Torment Shall Touch Them." There are a couple that are set in already-established universes, and these are less compelling, more like a teaser for some of the stable writers ("Love and Death and the Star That Shall Not Be Named: Kom's Story" by James Gunn and the novelette "In Dublin, Fair City" by Rick Wilber are good examples.) "The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine" by Greg Egan and "Nine Lattices of Sargasso" by Jason Sanford are excellent novelettes. And as always, Connie Willis's contribution, "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land," is a wonderful novella, centered on the idea of those secreted gem bookstores and shops one finds in the labyrinth same-streets of the Big City. While the January-February 2018 issue is filled with too many teaser-tales, this issue is worth a read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Denise Barney

    Connie Willis is one of my favorite authors, so I was quite pleased to see a novella from her in this issue. "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land" is a wonderful story about a chance encounter that answers the question: what happens when the last copy of a book disappears? As a life-long reader who loved the "Cherry Ames" series and other obscure novels for children, this story spoke to me in a very personal way. "The Nanny Bubble" by Norman Spinrad is a timely tale about a young boy's rebellion Connie Willis is one of my favorite authors, so I was quite pleased to see a novella from her in this issue. "I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land" is a wonderful story about a chance encounter that answers the question: what happens when the last copy of a book disappears? As a life-long reader who loved the "Cherry Ames" series and other obscure novels for children, this story spoke to me in a very personal way. "The Nanny Bubble" by Norman Spinrad is a timely tale about a young boy's rebellion against an overprotective society and valueless trophies. Rick Berg's "In Dublin, Fair City" is another Moe Berg alternate history tale, combining baseball and WWII espionage. In "Skipped" by Emily Taylor, a young woman has to decide whether she wants to stay in the alternate universe she finds herself in or return home. There are many more; all worth reading. The poetry includes one by Jane Yolen, "Nettle Coat," which refers to one of my favorite fairy tales.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land is a special edition hardcover novella from Connie Willis published by Subterranean Press. I received this ebook from Netgalley.com for an honest review. I hate giving Connie Willis's work a "meh" rating. Normally her work is absolutely wonderful and you can't put it down. This time the novella fell very flat. It felt much more like a rough draft that needed some buffing out and pruning. It probably would have worked much better as a short story. To her credi I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land is a special edition hardcover novella from Connie Willis published by Subterranean Press. I received this ebook from Netgalley.com for an honest review. I hate giving Connie Willis's work a "meh" rating. Normally her work is absolutely wonderful and you can't put it down. This time the novella fell very flat. It felt much more like a rough draft that needed some buffing out and pruning. It probably would have worked much better as a short story. To her credit though, I love the idea of a depository for books. No book shall be lost to damage or antiquity. I am a book lover myself and the story resonated with me deeply on that level. That is where the idea ends though. It is one note.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Electronic ARC provided by NetGalley. I was going to give this three stars at first since there really isn't much to it, but upped it to four since the basic concept has really stuck with me. "Traveller" is a short novella about a tech blogger who gets lost in Manhattan one day and wanders into Ozymandias books, a repository for the last copies of books in existence. There isn't really a story here in the sense of conflict and resolution. What we do see is a narrator who finds his world view shak Electronic ARC provided by NetGalley. I was going to give this three stars at first since there really isn't much to it, but upped it to four since the basic concept has really stuck with me. "Traveller" is a short novella about a tech blogger who gets lost in Manhattan one day and wanders into Ozymandias books, a repository for the last copies of books in existence. There isn't really a story here in the sense of conflict and resolution. What we do see is a narrator who finds his world view shaken by a random encounter with the reality of what time does to books. Connie Willis' writing is as engaging as always, and the image of a massive warehouse full of books that no one will ever have the chance to read again is pretty haunting. Pick up this story if you enjoy Willis, are looking for a light quick read, and enjoy stories about libraries.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kend

    Apart from completely misunderstanding why and how libraries weed books, this novella leans heavily on bookish nerdery and nostalgia. Where do books go to die? To this place, writes Willis. This place in a Narnian warren of a New York basement which is larger on the inside than it is on the outside, guarded or perhaps more accurately supervised by highly efficient if distractedly busy people. Given that I'm not huge into New York or into misrepresenting library weeding processes, but mostly beca Apart from completely misunderstanding why and how libraries weed books, this novella leans heavily on bookish nerdery and nostalgia. Where do books go to die? To this place, writes Willis. This place in a Narnian warren of a New York basement which is larger on the inside than it is on the outside, guarded or perhaps more accurately supervised by highly efficient if distractedly busy people. Given that I'm not huge into New York or into misrepresenting library weeding processes, but mostly because the central character lacked a distinctive voice, I'm giving this four stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gregg Narber

    I admire this author's novels but found this to be a too-padded (even at novella length) working out of a simple idea: many books become ephemeral or totally lost to us, even some which have "value", and that is a shame. The protagonist finds himself in what is ostensibly a bookstore (but is more like an archive) where unique copies of books are kept when those are the only copies that still exist. Endless exploring of the archives but a flat read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Great novella, about a professional blogger who happens upon something wonderous. A labyrinthine building that holds forgotten books. He learns that many books fall through the cracks, and are lost to the many elements out there. He has to rethink what is needed and wanted in society as some things you can't get back. It drives him to pursue it in a maddening way. This book made me actually search out some old books that are out-of-stock.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I wanted to like this. But it was a miss. It felt like a polemic against digital books. While I really do prefer physical books most of the time, digital books are not an inferior class of books, just a different class. It seems rather like railing against paperbacks. Sure, paperbacks have downsides, but they also have upsides. The copy I read was somehow missing ten pages toward the end, but I don't think it significantly changed my understanding of the story.

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