First, this is fair warning that this post may be a little loopy. I had a tooth pulled today and have been eating Vicodin like candy. I'd never had a tooth pulled and I learned a valuable lesson. I will never again compare finishing an awful book to pulling teeth because there is no book on this planet that is worse than having a molar ripped out of your mouth.
|Not even this book, which I admit with reluctance.|
Our February pick was a little different than usual. Instead of a novel, we decided on an anthology - the Apex Book of World Science Fiction, vol. 2, edited by Lavie Tidhar. I'm not usually a fan of short story collections, even those with a shared universe. I succumb to book hangover too easily - that feeling of despair when you finish a great book and realize that your time with those characters is over. I usually need a day or three to recover before I can pick up another book. So, you see my problem with an anthology - lots of little hangovers in one book.
|This is a picture of me after finishing The Magician King by Lev Grossman.|
The one selection that stood out the most, that I am still thinking on a couple of weeks later is "The Secret Origin of Spin-Man" by Andrew Drilon. This is the story of a pair of Filipino brothers obsessed with comic books and enthralled by their uncle who lives in America and works for a small comics publisher. Together, they create Spin-Man, but not in any sort of traditional brainstorm sort of way. I loved this story because it spoke to my own childhood. The author and I are of similar age, and his 80s and 90s comics references were ones I understood. The narrative also takes a very unexpected turn. I love a story that can surprise me. Out of all the authors in this anthology, Drilon is the one whose work I will most likely pursue.
|You watched this for the Rogue/Gambit relationship drama. Don't lie, sugah.|
There were a lot of other selections that were also pretty great. As I said, I enjoyed this anthology as a whole. This was world sci-fi, with themes and tropes that are not always native to American or first world science fiction. For example, while first world sci-fi tends toward the brave exploration of new lands, authors from other, more impoverished nations write more about survival and adaptation either in colonized lands or failed expeditions. I also felt that many of these stories were more character than plot driven, where most of the American sci-fi I have read is the opposite. This anthology made me reexamine just how ethnocentric/geocentric I really was (and we all are to an extent - truly understanding life from any perspective other than the one you know is difficult). So, not only did I discover a whole new bunch of authors, I got to learn a few things about myself as well.
|You mean, there's more to the world than the kitchen and litter box?!|