The Hidden Girl and Other Stories

{5/5} “Big Semi did not work with scripts and storyboards. It did not give any thought to themes, symbols, homages, or any other words you might find in a film-studies syllabus… It simply evaluated each test screening to see where the response curves still deviated from the target, made big changes and small tweaks and tested it again.” (from “Real Artists”)

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu, published in 2020

“The Reborn” — The Tawnin came to Earth and brutally attacked humans. But because of the way their memory works, the Tawnin of today are completely different from the ones who went to war. And they have given humanity a gift — they can keep criminals alive, and just excise enough of their memories that they won’t commit crimes in the future.

It’s about what makes you you, and whether we should remember the past or forget it.

“Byzantine Empathy” — Jianwen and Sophia were roommates in college. Sophia works for the nonprofit Refugees Without Borders and always tries to look at the big picture. Jianwen invented Empathium, a way for people to people to donate to worthy causes without going through traditional nonprofits. The two women run into each other in Myanmar, and disagree about what to do about the situation.

It’s about feeling empathy for people who are suffering, and when you might refuse to feel that empathy.

Each story is carefully crafted, and Liu’s brilliant premises are executed flawlessly.

Three of the stories are set in the same universe. One story is actually an excerpt from a novel — it will make you want to read the novel and, by extension, the series.

Here you can find out the future of charitable giving, the future of making movies, and how uploading your consciousness will work out.

This is the 2nd collection I’ve read by Liu. I previously reviewed The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories. I also reviewed the anthology he edited, Invisible Planets. I haven’t read any of his novels yet, but I will.

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2022 at 9:04 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.

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