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In her debut collection, Maureen F. McHugh examines the impacts of social and technological shifts on families. Using deceptively simple prose, she illuminates the relationship between parents and children and the expected and unexpected chasms that open between generations. Contents: Ancestor Money (2003) In the Air (1995) The Cost to Be Wise (1996) The Lincoln Train (1995) Int In her debut collection, Maureen F. McHugh examines the impacts of social and technological shifts on families. Using deceptively simple prose, she illuminates the relationship between parents and children and the expected and unexpected chasms that open between generations. Contents: Ancestor Money (2003) In the Air (1995) The Cost to Be Wise (1996) The Lincoln Train (1995) Interview: On Any Given Day (2001) Oversite (2004) Wicked (2005) Laika Comes Back Safe (2002) Presence (2002) Eight-Legged Story (2003) The Beast (1992) Nekropolis (1994) Frankenstein's Daughter (2003)


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In her debut collection, Maureen F. McHugh examines the impacts of social and technological shifts on families. Using deceptively simple prose, she illuminates the relationship between parents and children and the expected and unexpected chasms that open between generations. Contents: Ancestor Money (2003) In the Air (1995) The Cost to Be Wise (1996) The Lincoln Train (1995) Int In her debut collection, Maureen F. McHugh examines the impacts of social and technological shifts on families. Using deceptively simple prose, she illuminates the relationship between parents and children and the expected and unexpected chasms that open between generations. Contents: Ancestor Money (2003) In the Air (1995) The Cost to Be Wise (1996) The Lincoln Train (1995) Interview: On Any Given Day (2001) Oversite (2004) Wicked (2005) Laika Comes Back Safe (2002) Presence (2002) Eight-Legged Story (2003) The Beast (1992) Nekropolis (1994) Frankenstein's Daughter (2003)

30 review for Mothers & Other Monsters: Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ursula Pflug

    The following review appeared The New York Review of Science Fiction in October, 2006, reprinted from The Peterborough Examiner. Maureen McHugh's first collection Mothers And Other Monsters was a finalist for this year’s Story Prize, inaugurated in 2004 to acknowledge and support the writing of quality short fiction in this age of the novel. Interestingly, all four of McHugh’s own novels, including her debut, the award winning China Mountain Zhang, are science fiction. Her high literary concerns The following review appeared The New York Review of Science Fiction in October, 2006, reprinted from The Peterborough Examiner. Maureen McHugh's first collection Mothers And Other Monsters was a finalist for this year’s Story Prize, inaugurated in 2004 to acknowledge and support the writing of quality short fiction in this age of the novel. Interestingly, all four of McHugh’s own novels, including her debut, the award winning China Mountain Zhang, are science fiction. Her high literary concerns might puzzle those who haven't been paying attention to the new crossover. And in Mothers And... the speculative elements can be so subtle that some reviewers have wondered why they are there at all. For instance, why is the boy in “Laika Comes Back Safe,” a werewolf? Isn't this story just a particularly good tale of teenage malaise? To borrow a question from the end of Yann Martel's Life Of Pi: is the story better with or without the animals? It's a better story with the werewolf, even though it's not really a werewolf story. McHugh's concern about new technology pervades near future stories such as "Oversite." Quite soon we may be able to turn on our computers and a little yellow triangle will appear on a map, letting us know where our teenager or elderly parent is. One day both protagonist Clara’s mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, and her daughter Renata go missing; add stress at work and you’ve got the picture. The GPS on grandma's implant works; the kid has blocked her transmitter by wrapping the futuristic version of duct tape around her arm. After various misadventures Renata arrives home safe; the grandmother is found, and Clara, who, not unimaginably, can't wind down, turns on her computer one last time. Each yellow triangle is just where it's supposed to be: one in the bedroom right next door, and one across town at the senior’s residence. Both are thankfully stationary, signifying sleep. They're so beautiful when they're sleeping. The genius of this story is that even those who would normally balk at surveillance technology with its Big Brother overtones don't begrudge poor Clara. Having gone through her day with her, we know she deserves whatever brief, fragile peace she can find. Another notable story is “In The Air,” in which a newly single middle aged woman has the usual combination of insecurity and intrepid courage as she jumps back into the dating game via a dog training class. Unfortunately the ghost of her dead brother, who ages as she does, keeps appearing at importune moments, visible at first to the new beau's dog, but not him. We all have baggage we bring to relationships, and more as we get older; the ghost brother is a frightfully clever metaphor for this fact, but not really necessary to the telling of the tale. Is the story better with or without the ghost? You guess. In each of these stories the minutiae of daily life and daily struggles, particularly those of women, are described so beautifully and so clearly that we could be reading Alice Munro. Except for the werewolves, the ghosts, the implants.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lea

    I find favourite authors and favourite books so much more difficult to review than books I didn't like. As it happens, Maureen F. McHugh is one my favourite authors and this is a wonderful book of 12 short stories. I liked every single one of them, but there were some stand outs. Ancestor Money (2003) - Dead Rachel receives a letter while she's in the afterlife, telling her she's to receive ancestor money. To collect it, she needs to travel to the Chinese afterlife. (Honorable Ancestress of Amel I find favourite authors and favourite books so much more difficult to review than books I didn't like. As it happens, Maureen F. McHugh is one my favourite authors and this is a wonderful book of 12 short stories. I liked every single one of them, but there were some stand outs. Ancestor Money (2003) - Dead Rachel receives a letter while she's in the afterlife, telling her she's to receive ancestor money. To collect it, she needs to travel to the Chinese afterlife. (Honorable Ancestress of Amelia Shaugnessy: an offering of death money and goods has been made to you at Tin Hau Temple in Yau Ma Tei, in Hong Kong. If you would like to claim it, please contact us either by letter or phone. HK8-555-4444.) In the Air (1995) - A woman joins a dog club where she meets a man. The ghost of her dead brother stands between their blossoming love. I loved this story so much. The melancholy, the ghost elements, the dialogue - it's perfect. The Cost to Be Wise (1996) - The one that felt the most sci-fi in capital letters to me. This is more of novella than a short story. Set in a colony on a distant planet and told from a young woman living there; an anthropologist from another world tries to study the colony, when a heavily armed clan arrives. I'm not sure I fully got some parts of this story, to be honest (I sometimes thought I might have skipped some parts while reading) but I enjoyed it. It's rather brutal. The Lincoln Train (1995) - An alternate history short story that won the 1996 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, the 1996 Locus Award and was nominated for the 1996 Nebula Award for Best Short Story. After the civil war, all Southerners who owned slaves, are removed from the western territories in a neo-Trail of Tears, where many of them are left to die of starvation and disease. The story is told from the pov of a young woman and her dement mother, who are forced on such a train. An alternative Underground Railroad saves her. Interview: On Any Given Day (2001) - Short story told in a form of an interview. People can make their body young again, but are neither at home with the real youth or their actual peers then. Interesting thought experiment. Oversite (2004) - People put chips in their children's body to monitor their whereabouts all the time. The story, like the one above, and many others in this book, examines youth and relation to parents. Wicked (2005) - 400 word short story about everything going up in flames. the most poetic of the stories. Laika Comes Back Safe (2002) - A young love between werewolf and human and their dog, doomed to fail. Presence (2002) - This story about dementia and new technology to beat the disease, was both very touching and sad, and asked interesting questions about what it means to still be the same person. One of the best ones in this book. Eight-Legged Story (2003) - Another brilliant one. A woman contemplates her relationship with her missing stepson and her husband, in 8 short parts. The Beast (1992) - Another short, rather poetic one, that merges themes of family & monsters. Nekropolis (1994) - I wish this one were so much longer. This is a love story between a girl who's jessed (sort of enslaved by choice) and a genetically "built" servant boy. I liked the background, the world building with the 2nd koran, and again the questions about what makes a human human, but most of all I just loved both characters. Frankenstein's Daughter (2003) - From the point of view of a mother and her son, this resolves about the cloning of a girl gone wrong. It felt very realistic, especially the way the mother is judged by the doctors. Most of these stories are Sci-Fi, but I often thought it felt more like magical realism. I don't know if that's simply because I hardly ever read Sci-Fi and I adore magical realism - or, if it's because all of these stories are so character-focused. The melancholic tone and the direct style is just so perfect. I really tries to read this book as slowly as I could, to savor it. You can download the book from the publisher for free: https://smallbeerpress.com/books/2006...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Terence

    I was reminded of Chekhov (the Russian author, not Enterprises' navigator) when reading this collection for several reasons: (1) I'm in the midst of plowing through all 13 volumes of Constance Garnett's translations of Chekhov, so he's on my mind and the temptation to compare and contrast is strong. (2) Like Chekhov, McHugh's stories (in this collection) tend to lack plots. There's not much "action," and rarely is there resolution. For example, in "The Cost to Be Wise" the villagers of a rediscove I was reminded of Chekhov (the Russian author, not Enterprises' navigator) when reading this collection for several reasons: (1) I'm in the midst of plowing through all 13 volumes of Constance Garnett's translations of Chekhov, so he's on my mind and the temptation to compare and contrast is strong. (2) Like Chekhov, McHugh's stories (in this collection) tend to lack plots. There's not much "action," and rarely is there resolution. For example, in "The Cost to Be Wise" the villagers of a rediscovered Terran colony where observers from Earth live among the natives suffer the depredations of nomads who have acquired relatively advanced guns. In the hands of most authors, this would have evolved into a story about violence and whether or not it's right for the villagers to try to acquire their own weapons. But McHugh is more subtle than that and in a very Chekhovian manner simply tells the story about how one girl responds to the situation without trying to make a moral point. (3) Which brings me to McHugh's ability to simply write about her characters without passing moral judgments on them (again like Chekhov). "Eight-Legged Story" and "Frankenstein's Daughter" are excellent examples of this. (4) One final point of similarity with Chekhov - Often times, Chekhov's characters have to chose between love and security and/or suffer physical and mental hardship because of belief or duty and many of McHugh's characters face the same issue. This is especially true in "Nekropolis," a near-future story about an Islamic culture which has finessed the institution of slavery and a woman has to make the choice between "safety or freedom." Unlike most of Chekhov's people, Diyet opts for the harder choice of "freedom." Only about half the stories would qualify as SF or speculative fiction but they're all very good, and I'd recommend this collection.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ademption

    3.5 stars rounded up. These are earlier stories from Maureen F. McHugh. Her characters and the settings matter much more than the story, and she struggles with endings. In this, McHugh reminds me of Zadie Smith. McHugh often takes present day settings and adds a small technological change that gently marks her stories as sci-fi; otherwise, they would pass as slice-of-life short stories. The precipitating technology could be a tracking app that parents use on their teenagers, a cure for Alzheimer' 3.5 stars rounded up. These are earlier stories from Maureen F. McHugh. Her characters and the settings matter much more than the story, and she struggles with endings. In this, McHugh reminds me of Zadie Smith. McHugh often takes present day settings and adds a small technological change that gently marks her stories as sci-fi; otherwise, they would pass as slice-of-life short stories. The precipitating technology could be a tracking app that parents use on their teenagers, a cure for Alzheimer's that rebuilds the brain but scrubs the previous personality of a loved one, a cloned daughter, etc. In most of the stories, middle class Americans cope with the seeming advantages and the unintended consequences of one of these technologies applied to their families. Situations get awkward, and after familial strife and heated discussion, the stories trail off or end rather abruptly. Also included in this book is the alternative US civil war story, "The Lincoln Train," for which McHugh won the Hugo and was nominated for a Nebula. Mothers & Other Monsters is worth reading, but After the Apocalypse is her stronger short story collection.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Burnam-Fink

    Mothers & Other Monsters is domesticity redone through a science-fiction lens. McHugh runs to recurrent themes like a sore tooth: troubled adolescents on the cusp of adulthood, middle-aged women forced to care for someone ravaged by Alzheimer's. Fear, and love, and the ideals that people always fail to live up. She has some talent as a writer, except that she really struggles with endings. Her stories don't end, so much as close with a quick-jab to the solar plexus, a gasp of realization that it Mothers & Other Monsters is domesticity redone through a science-fiction lens. McHugh runs to recurrent themes like a sore tooth: troubled adolescents on the cusp of adulthood, middle-aged women forced to care for someone ravaged by Alzheimer's. Fear, and love, and the ideals that people always fail to live up. She has some talent as a writer, except that she really struggles with endings. Her stories don't end, so much as close with a quick-jab to the solar plexus, a gasp of realization that it always was going to be that way, that everyone is trapped by their history.

  6. 4 out of 5

    mad mags

    Captivating! I was first introduced to Maureen McHugh’s work through After the Apocalypse: Stories (2011). I just so happened to spot a review of it online – just where that was escapes me now, sadly (reading recommendations, got any?) – and, in search of new post-apocalyptic fiction (bonus points for zombies!), I snapped it up immediately. After devouring it in all of a week, I quickly tore through her novels: Nekropolis (2002), China Mountain Zhang (1997), Half the Day is Night (1996), and Captivating! I was first introduced to Maureen McHugh’s work through After the Apocalypse: Stories (2011). I just so happened to spot a review of it online – just where that was escapes me now, sadly (reading recommendations, got any?) – and, in search of new post-apocalyptic fiction (bonus points for zombies!), I snapped it up immediately. After devouring it in all of a week, I quickly tore through her novels: Nekropolis (2002), China Mountain Zhang (1997), Half the Day is Night (1996), and the epic masterpiece Mission Child (1999), which I cannot recommend highly enough. It seems only fitting that I finish off her oeuvre with Mothers & Other Monsters: Stories (2006), her first of two collections of short stories. What with its cast of werewolves, clones, ghosts, space travelers, and genetically rejuvenated elders, Mothers & Other Monsters is an eclectic mix of fantasy and science fiction. As the title implies, motherhood is a common theme throughout – but the women featured in these stories are anything but monstrous. Herself a stepmother to a preteen boy, McHugh – whose life plans reportedly didn’t include children, at least not until Adam’s father entered the picture – regards the relationships between parents and children and generations past and present with tenderness and empathy. Here you’ll meet a mother struggling to care for her aging mother while simultaneously guiding her rebellious daughter through her teenage years (“Oversight”); a woman who spends her life savings on an experimental Alzheimer’s treatment, hoping that it will cure her husband without erasing too much of who he is – or was, before the disease stole him from her (“Presence”); a young woman who discovers that her best friend is a werewolf (“Laika Comes Back Safe”); and a ghost who travels from her cozy corner of the afterlife to accept tribute from a distant relation (“Ancestor Money”). Aging, death, and senility are also elements shared by many of the stories – Alzheimer’s and “senility” make two appearances each – as are our all-too human struggles to overcome and defeat them (see, e.g., the thought-provoking “Interview: On Any Given Day”). It makes for a rather heartbreaking, sometimes inspiring collection – one that will dwell in your memory and heart, perhaps even staking a permanent claim there. While it’s hard to single out any one story for special praise, it’s worth noting that Mothers & Other Monsters contains early version of two of McHugh’s novels: Mission Child (“The Cost to Be Wise”) and Nekropolis (“Nekropolis”). Each story encompasses the opening chapters of its respective book: whereas the plot of “The Cost to Be Wise” is similar to – but also significantly different from – Mission Child, that of “Nekropolis” is very nearly the same in both formats (at least judging from memory – some parts of the narration may be different, but the overall story matches up). “Nekropolis” the short story ends on a note that’s simultaneously more and less hopeful than Nekropolis the novel; “The Cost to Be Wise,” on the other hand, is much more damning in its view of the Offworlders than is Mission Child. It’s an interesting contrast, to say the least. “The Lincoln Train” is another personal favorite. A piece of speculative fiction that explores how the Civil War might have played out had the assassination attempt on Lincoln failed, it made a previous appearance in New Skies: An Anthology of Today’s Science Fiction (2003). Mothers & Other Monsters also includes a “Reading Group Guide” with an author interview, talking points, and an autobiographical essay written by McHugh, fittingly titled “The Evil Stepmother” (though the latter feels like a bit of a cheat, since some of the sections are repeated verbatim elsewhere in the book – i.e., “Eight-Legged Story”). Readers would do well not to skip these, as they provide valuable insight into McHugh’s stories. Fans of McHugh will adore Mothers & Other Monsters – and, if you’re not already one, Mothers & Other Monsters will make a fan out of you! At the time of this writing, Small Beer Press is offering a free download of Mothers & Other Monsters on its website. Go to the book's page and click on the "free download" link! http://www.easyvegan.info/2012/06/25/...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    Finally got to read a collection from a writer whom everyone is raving about. Previously I had not been impressed because her choice of topics is so varied. So a story can be a hit or miss unless the reader has been "primed" beforehand. For example, I almost gave up midway on her more popular "the Cost to be Wise" (I love far futures and off world-ers, but huh? the world building is weak imho) But I'm glad I persisted because McHugh can touch one's right hemisphere through stories like "Presence" Finally got to read a collection from a writer whom everyone is raving about. Previously I had not been impressed because her choice of topics is so varied. So a story can be a hit or miss unless the reader has been "primed" beforehand. For example, I almost gave up midway on her more popular "the Cost to be Wise" (I love far futures and off world-ers, but huh? the world building is weak imho) But I'm glad I persisted because McHugh can touch one's right hemisphere through stories like "Presence" & “Frankenstein's Daughter”. Btw, surprised by how a talented western writer can elaborate so well on a foreign culture in "Ancestor Money". I guess Myths are universal and so is imagination & writing. That led me to re-examine my belief/question/stand on the authorship of Shakespeare. Creativity has no class, geographical, or political boundaries.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Maureen McHugh is going to be a guest speaker at WisCON (the feminist sci-fi conference) that I am hoping to go to in Madison in May. I loved her earlier book China Mountain Zhang, so i was excited about this one. The short stories were not all sci-fi, which I was surprised about but not at all disappointed. And they were so interesting: about alzheimers, life after death, cloned children, and one about a lost colony from earth. Really compelling and well written, though I wanted most of them to Maureen McHugh is going to be a guest speaker at WisCON (the feminist sci-fi conference) that I am hoping to go to in Madison in May. I loved her earlier book China Mountain Zhang, so i was excited about this one. The short stories were not all sci-fi, which I was surprised about but not at all disappointed. And they were so interesting: about alzheimers, life after death, cloned children, and one about a lost colony from earth. Really compelling and well written, though I wanted most of them to continue. They reminded me a little bit of Ovtavia Butler's stories in the sympathy and twists of science, but less gruesome or shocking, and maybe more emotive.

  9. 5 out of 5

    pax

    This one has the one or other great individual story, but is overall not the place to start reading McHugh (go to the the brilliat China Mountain Zhang and return then, once you feel like you need to read everything by McHugh). This one has the one or other great individual story, but is overall not the place to start reading McHugh (go to the the brilliat China Mountain Zhang and return then, once you feel like you need to read everything by McHugh).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    I skipped one of the stories, but all in all, I LOVED this collection. The perfect mix of bizarre, fantastic and strange circumstances and just generally good writing. If I'd written this book, I could die a happy woman. I skipped one of the stories, but all in all, I LOVED this collection. The perfect mix of bizarre, fantastic and strange circumstances and just generally good writing. If I'd written this book, I could die a happy woman.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julio Biason

    I now there are stories with a hidden subject, like "Arrival", in which the fact that understanding how the alien language works allow humans to break the barriers of time, and one could expect that stories with no eminent subject actually have a hidden one. But I feel that doesn't happen here. There are just... stories. And, sad to say, they are not even good. There are points that never lead to anywhere, and doesn't seem related to the main history; most of them end with no conclusion at all (wil I now there are stories with a hidden subject, like "Arrival", in which the fact that understanding how the alien language works allow humans to break the barriers of time, and one could expect that stories with no eminent subject actually have a hidden one. But I feel that doesn't happen here. There are just... stories. And, sad to say, they are not even good. There are points that never lead to anywhere, and doesn't seem related to the main history; most of them end with no conclusion at all (will the clone die? What will happen to the daredevil? Do the husband got cured from Alzheimer and would he still be in love with his wife?)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carmilla Voiez

    A beautiful collection of speculative and literary short stories based around the difficulties of motherhood -whether biological or step-parenting. Many of the stories contain aching sadness, especially around the theme of losing oneself or a loved one, for instance to Alzheimers. Stories are set in other worlds, alternative pasts and the near-future. Add technology to slice of life tales and you have the writings of Maureen McHugh.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Luna Holmes

    Difficult topics: rape, murder, torture, death,human trafficking, family relationships, Alzheimer's, and Dementia Excellent writing with plenty of thought provocation Most of the profanity occurs within just one of the stories. Difficult topics: rape, murder, torture, death,human trafficking, family relationships, Alzheimer's, and Dementia Excellent writing with plenty of thought provocation Most of the profanity occurs within just one of the stories.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    I gave this a 4-star rating because I think Ms. McHugh is a great writer. I am not a big fan of uncomfortable stories with vague endings, but I was definitely riveted.

  15. 5 out of 5

    3sm3

    wish there was more from this author

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Interesting collection.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Engel Dreizehn

    Very interesting and often frightening collection of scifi/fantasy stories exploring themes of mothers (and other family monsters) against various aspects of society + technology.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Lovely short story collection of spec fic, mostly examining our relationships with family through technology.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matevž

    There is nothing wrong with the stories as such... But the writing style just doesn't sit with me. Somehow stories that end abruptly and mostly unresolved fail to interest me. There is nothing wrong with the stories as such... But the writing style just doesn't sit with me. Somehow stories that end abruptly and mostly unresolved fail to interest me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sue Chant

    Gave up half way through. It's not badly written, but the stories don't go anywhere they just fizzle out. Gave up half way through. It's not badly written, but the stories don't go anywhere they just fizzle out.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This collection of stories was wonderful. The worlds are spread out far removed from our own. The settings are places where clones and biologically engineered servants, and fantastic futuristic technology on lost worlds. There are also ghosts and werewolves which are so far up my alley it's not even funny. Love that stuff. The thing that stands out isn't the tech, or the alien lands and technologies it's that at the core of every single story is a human story. If you read a lot you realize the l This collection of stories was wonderful. The worlds are spread out far removed from our own. The settings are places where clones and biologically engineered servants, and fantastic futuristic technology on lost worlds. There are also ghosts and werewolves which are so far up my alley it's not even funny. Love that stuff. The thing that stands out isn't the tech, or the alien lands and technologies it's that at the core of every single story is a human story. If you read a lot you realize the language changes, and the slang changes, and the setting change, but people at their core people are the same. This book beautifully captures what it means to be human. It is so easy to fall into the worlds of the stories, into the places where loss and grief and the feeling of needing something can drive people to do things that seem crazy. From rejuvenation trying to capture lost youth to the ravishment of Alzheimer and the loss of a child the stories never lose that core strength of who the characters are, they live on the pages, like their entire lives are captured in the snapshots of the short stories. It feels like you could run into them in the streets, or you might have talked to them once somewhere you can't remember. The best way to describe it, is they feel alive and I'm glad to have met them.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ketan Shah

    Maureen F McHugh writes stories that defy categorisation. Some have sci fi aspects to them,while others are domestic vignettes of failed marriages or parent child relationships.Many combine the two,presenting stories that explore issues like cloning and rejuvenation from very personal perspectives, examining their impact of families,marriage and parenting. The best sci fi stimulates the mind and touches the heart,and McHugh succeeds resoundingly in this respect.If you enjoyed this, Daniel Keye's Maureen F McHugh writes stories that defy categorisation. Some have sci fi aspects to them,while others are domestic vignettes of failed marriages or parent child relationships.Many combine the two,presenting stories that explore issues like cloning and rejuvenation from very personal perspectives, examining their impact of families,marriage and parenting. The best sci fi stimulates the mind and touches the heart,and McHugh succeeds resoundingly in this respect.If you enjoyed this, Daniel Keye's "Flowers for Algernon" is a must read. Some of John Varley's short stories might also appeal to you.Also ,Orson Scott Card's novella ,"Lost Boys". You might also enjoy McHugh's novel "China Mountain Zhang". If you enjoyed the first story,dealing with the Chinese idea of the afterlife,then you'd probably enjoy "Snake Agent " by Liz Williams.On the non SF front,you might also enjoy Tom Perotta's "Little Children" and" Bad Haircut".You'd probably also like Lewis Nordham's "Boy with Loaded Gun".Tee movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" also uses a science fictional concept (selective deletion of memory ) to examine interpersonal relationships.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Literary stories with sff perspectives. Some feel more literary, some feel more sff. I read through this really slowly for a lot of reasons. Sometime's I'd get a little stuck on a story. Sometimes it was because I couldn't tell how long the story was (Kindle, not marked by story). Sometimes it was because I really needed to read The Fifth Season. Overall I liked it, but there were a few stories that slowed me down, and some of those felt long. But there were a few stories that I thought were ama Literary stories with sff perspectives. Some feel more literary, some feel more sff. I read through this really slowly for a lot of reasons. Sometime's I'd get a little stuck on a story. Sometimes it was because I couldn't tell how long the story was (Kindle, not marked by story). Sometimes it was because I really needed to read The Fifth Season. Overall I liked it, but there were a few stories that slowed me down, and some of those felt long. But there were a few stories that I thought were amazing. Nekropolis really hooked me, and The Cost to Be Wise, though it was pretty long, was captivating enough that I didn't mind. Ancestor Money - 8/10 In the Air - 7/10 The Cost to Be Wise - 9/10 The Lincoln Train - 5/10 Interview: On Any Given Day - 7/10 Oversite - 4/10 Wicked - 8/10 Laika Comes Back Safe - 8/10 Presence - 6/10 Eight-Legged Story - 6/10 The Beast - 5/10 Nekropolis - 10/10 Frankenstein’s Daughter - 8/10

  24. 4 out of 5

    martha

    Recommended to me because I like Kelly Link, and it was great. (It's actually published by Kelly Link's press.) Stories about the afterlife or artificial intelligence or what-if-Lincoln-didn't-die or extraterrestrial pre-Industrial Revolution colonies or werewolves or slightly-futuristic technology, all fantastically written. Really diverse concepts, but similar themes, which is a nice trick, done well. Recommended to me because I like Kelly Link, and it was great. (It's actually published by Kelly Link's press.) Stories about the afterlife or artificial intelligence or what-if-Lincoln-didn't-die or extraterrestrial pre-Industrial Revolution colonies or werewolves or slightly-futuristic technology, all fantastically written. Really diverse concepts, but similar themes, which is a nice trick, done well.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenni

    What a collection. There was not a single story in this book that didn't drag some reaction from me. Most of the stories were short and surreal, with no real end point. Just a brief glimpse into the life of another person, in another situation. The concept of "mother" fascinates me endlessly. We have such expectations, such a concrete image conjured up by one word. Maureen McHugh does not disappoint with her forays into the (often unexplored) darker sides of what this means. Thoroughly recommend What a collection. There was not a single story in this book that didn't drag some reaction from me. Most of the stories were short and surreal, with no real end point. Just a brief glimpse into the life of another person, in another situation. The concept of "mother" fascinates me endlessly. We have such expectations, such a concrete image conjured up by one word. Maureen McHugh does not disappoint with her forays into the (often unexplored) darker sides of what this means. Thoroughly recommend.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    I picked it up because of the title. I brought it home because of the blurbs on the cover from Ursula K. Le Guin & Mary Doria Russell. I was not disappointed. Taut, concise short fiction with a delightfully odd imaginative twist. The stories are strikingly different from one another and all are as tight as a drumhead. There's a bit of alternate history, a bit of scifi, some straight fiction- all of it nicely plotted and interestingly told. I picked it up because of the title. I brought it home because of the blurbs on the cover from Ursula K. Le Guin & Mary Doria Russell. I was not disappointed. Taut, concise short fiction with a delightfully odd imaginative twist. The stories are strikingly different from one another and all are as tight as a drumhead. There's a bit of alternate history, a bit of scifi, some straight fiction- all of it nicely plotted and interestingly told.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Technically very well written. Good flow of time and pace of most stories. Creative ideas and stories that reminded me a bit of Bradbury at times. Biggest problem/complaint was repetition of themes or items that are clearly involved or have impacted authors life. I like getting that knowledge and background of an author's life and mind from their writing, but in a collection of stories from one author some of these are a bit strong. Technically very well written. Good flow of time and pace of most stories. Creative ideas and stories that reminded me a bit of Bradbury at times. Biggest problem/complaint was repetition of themes or items that are clearly involved or have impacted authors life. I like getting that knowledge and background of an author's life and mind from their writing, but in a collection of stories from one author some of these are a bit strong.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Maureen McHugh does a lovely job delineating the parameters of loss and the human ability to keep hoping in the face of such loss. She integrates speculative elements naturally and easily, and you accept them right away because they fit. I am giving this collection four stars based on the strength of these particular stories: "The Lincoln Train" (which I wanted to be longer), "Oversite", "Laika Comes Back Safe", "Presence", "Nekropolis". Maureen McHugh does a lovely job delineating the parameters of loss and the human ability to keep hoping in the face of such loss. She integrates speculative elements naturally and easily, and you accept them right away because they fit. I am giving this collection four stars based on the strength of these particular stories: "The Lincoln Train" (which I wanted to be longer), "Oversite", "Laika Comes Back Safe", "Presence", "Nekropolis".

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tim Hicks

    Just because I didn't care for them doesn't mean these aren't good stories. I read mostly sci-fi, and maybe I was expecting too much of that from an established SF author. Instead, these are, um, what can I say, delicate vignettes that explore modern life and use speculative/fantasy elements as seasoning, or perhaps as something to lift the story out of the everyday just enough. Just not my style. Your mileage may vary. Void where prohibited. Just because I didn't care for them doesn't mean these aren't good stories. I read mostly sci-fi, and maybe I was expecting too much of that from an established SF author. Instead, these are, um, what can I say, delicate vignettes that explore modern life and use speculative/fantasy elements as seasoning, or perhaps as something to lift the story out of the everyday just enough. Just not my style. Your mileage may vary. Void where prohibited.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    A great collection of short stories with everything from werewolves, ghosts, stepmothers, and heaven to dystopian worlds with tribal communities and alien technologies. McHugh's writing made me read this collection like it was a novel. Of course like After the Apocalypse, I'm left with wanting more. A great collection of short stories with everything from werewolves, ghosts, stepmothers, and heaven to dystopian worlds with tribal communities and alien technologies. McHugh's writing made me read this collection like it was a novel. Of course like After the Apocalypse, I'm left with wanting more.

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