Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy (anthology)

How often do you fall in love with a book after reading the foreword?. This is the first time I succumb under the beauty of a great foreword, and I don’t even know how to resume it without destroying its essence, so you can read it from Amazon’s “look inside” feature here.

This anthology has truly achieved diversity in more than one way. It contains stories that take place in all kinds of places, not limited to earth, under all kinds of circumstances and time frames. Even if they are all sci-fi and fantasy stories, they are incredibly different from each other in subject, style and mood. Some are light while others will leave you filled with emotions. The characters can be human or not, alive or death, from little kids to elderly, with superpowers, enhancements or handicapped. All these wonderful stories are presented with very unique and intriguing plots developed over Asian backgrounds (Chinese, Turkish, Indian, Japanese, Philippine, Korean, Indonesian, etc.)


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Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy

by Lucas K. Law & Derwin Mak (editors), Elsie Chapman (Introduction), Samatha M. Beiko (illustrator) Authors: Joyce Chng, S.B. Divya, Fonda Lee, Karin Lowachee, E.C. Myers, Amanda Sun, Rati Mehrotra, Jeremy Szal, Melissa Yuan-Innes, Regina Kanyu Wang, Toni Pi, Angela Yuriko Smith, Miki Dare, Ruhan Zhao, Gabriela Lee, Diana Xin, Calvin D. Jim, Pamela Q. Fernandes, Minsoo Kang, Deepak Bharathan, Priya Sridhar, Anne Carly Abad, Naru Dames Sundar.

 

Keywords: sci-fi, fantasy, anthology, short stories, asia, robots, djinn, space, steam punk, time travel, other planets, aliens, shape shifters, post-apocalyptic, heros, rape, ghosts.

*Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 8th 2017 by Laksa Media Groups Inc.


Most of the stories carry deep teachings, sometimes boldly presented as the main theme while other times it can be subtly left there for the reader to analyze. Loss, struggle, hope and the continuous search for ourselves and a place to belong to, were themes I felt constantly reappearing in these lovely stories.

This book took me longer than usual to finish, partly because a couple of stories were most definitely not of my liking. I found them confusing and had to slow down to keep a good level of comprehension. That can ruin the mood for the next story, so I took more breaks than usual while reading this anthology.

I didn’t like all of the stories, which was fine:

Something that put me off the most, was a couple of instances when important words in other languages were used without adding an explanation to them. I don’t want them to be just exotic words, I want to truly understand them from the author’s point of view and not a dictionary translation. But mostly, there were a lot of good examples where authors successfully incorporated non-English words. It was great to see the different ways they tackled it: right after the word or at the end of the story, made a character explain it,  the narrator describe it, or made it possible to smoothly infer from the narrative (that’s the greatest way to do it, in my opinion, because you don’t even realize you needed explanation).

After I finished reading I realized that I loved some stories, others remained in a gray area and couple of them I disliked. Yet, I could sympathize with all of them, which was great, because that’s what happens when you are presented with diversity, with options that are truly different from one other. Quite probably you wont love them all as well, but you can get a real taste of diverse short stories that you will enjoy if you like science fiction and fantasy. Maybe you will discover new favorite authors!.

Psst.. they donate a portion of the revenue to support Kids Help Phone.

Quotes from some of my favorite stories:

Weaving Silk by Amanda Sun

“We are all little cocoons, I think, as I look at the people in the train. We spin threads around ourselves, shutting others out as if we were the only ones struggling. Hungry to survive, destined to die. And yet together, unraveled, our stories form yards and yards of beautiful silken thread.”

Vanilla Rice by Angela Yuriko Smith

“No one loves a lie. Not really. I want to be real even if it’s not pretty”

A Star Is Born by Miki Dare

“Let me live in the la-la land of only positive memories. Alzheimer’s is such an asshole. Let me just remember the good things.”

My Left Hand by Ruhan Zhao

“I never believed in Fate, yet on my way to the Beijing Institute of High Energy Physics this morning, I couldn’t help but go straight to the old fortune teller sitting at roadside.”

A Visitation for the Spirit Festival by Diana Xin

“In one night, it was all gone. The sun rose on a mess of corpses, never counted, never named. How easy they were to clean up, to erase. How easy they were to forget”

Meridian by Karin Lowachee

“My brothers Cairo and Bern. And Mama and Daddy. Now every time I thought the word ‘family’, I also thought the word ‘dead.'”

Memoriam by Priya Sridhar

“‘You can’t be thinking that a robot suddenly became religious, Anish. You’re not even Hindu!’. ‘Im not,’ he said. ‘But Appa was. Somehow the robot picked up on that.'”

The Observer Effect by E.C. Myers

“You’re invisible to most, but the people who do notice you don’t see you, they only see your crutches. They don’t care about what you can do, because they’re only thinking about what you can’t.”

Old Souls by Fonda Lee

“She is proof that people need to forget, to start over, to be given second, third, eight chances. Or we might become like her. Frozen by the worst of our memories. Imprisoned by histories we can’t change and can’t leave behind”

*eArc provided by Laksa Media Groups

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About Alicia

I enjoy sharing my love for good books with other people. I wish you can find the type of books meant for you. Art is my passion. Both activities allow me to travel to imaginary places, learn, grow and share my journey with others. Feel free to join me, I love company.

4 comments

  1. This sounds awesome! Great Review!😄

    Like

  2. Ah this sounds petty good! I love the cover and how diverse it is 🙂 Plus, if you get like that after a foreword you know it’s gonna be awesome!
    Unfortunately with anthologies, it’s hard to love each and every story.
    I’m glad to see Amanda Sun here. I really enjoyed her Paper Gods series, which if you like Japan and Japanese culture/folklore you might like as well 😊
    Wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

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