The Waiting Stars

Only last year, though it feels a lifetime away, I had a review in The F Word of SF collection The Other Half of the Sky (edited by Athena Andreadis and co-edited by Kay Holt). I especially enjoyed Aliette de Bodard’s The Waiting Stars,

which most effectively of the 16 stories fuses worldbuilding, characterisation, thematic depth and plot. The Dai Viet Empire’s ships are Minds, at once space vessels and members of large, close-knit families. Some, captured by the Galactics, are left derelict – necessitating a daring liberatory raid. For their part, the (recognisably white Anglophone) Galactics view the production of Minds with horror and attempt to ‘rescue’ so-called Dai Viet “refugees” through violent assimilation into Galactic society. De Bodard’s portrait of one refugee’s conflicting attachments and mixed identifications – a sense of self literally spread across stars – powerfully echoes the experience of postcolonial cultural displacement. It certainly resonates deeply with me as someone born and bred Anglophone in a former British colony.

I’ve been delighted to find that it’s now available for free on the author’s website. Away with you, shoo, go read.

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