The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

{5/5} “There are no heroes, Tian Haoli. Grand Secretary Shi was both courageous and cowardly, capable and foolish. Wang Xiuchu was both an opportunistic survivor and a man of greatness of spirit. I’m mostly selfish and vain, but sometimes even I surprise myself. We’re all just ordinary men — well, I’m an ordinary demon — faced with extraordinary choices. In those moments, sometimes heroic ideals demand that we become their avatars.”

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu, published in 2016

In “The Paper Menagerie” Jack thought of himself as an American and grew apart from his Chinese mother — but his mother left him a final letter to be read when he could appreciate it. In “An Advanced Reader’s Picture Book of Comparative Cognition” humans find a new way to search for aliens — and aliens have different ways of thinking. In “The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” the litigation master risks helping a fugitive in order to protect a book that tells of a massacre the emperor wants kept unknown.

In the blurbs for this book one word jumped out at me — “profound.” That’s what you’ll find in this collection — many of the stories are so rich you’ll think you’re reading a novel.

The author that Liu reminds me of is Ted Chiang — each story reaches out and grabs you. As with Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others, this collection is one that all science fiction fans should read.

This is the first book of Liu’s that I’ve read — I will undoubtedly read more. In addition to being an author, Liu is also a translator — he translated from the Chinese the novel The Three-Body Problem and the anthology Invisible Planets.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 at 9:23 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories”

  1. James Says:

    Glad you liked it, Dave!

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