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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last
Connie Willis, Recorded Books LLC, Steven Crossley
Vintage: A Ghost Story
Berman, Steve, Steve Berman
Progress: 75/154 pages
The Moai Island Puzzle
Ho-Ling Wong, Alice Arisugawa
Progress: 30/239 pages
The snail-watcher, and other stories
Patricia Highsmith
Progress: 9/177 pages
Jane Jensen: Gabriel Knight, Adventure Games, Hidden Objects (Influential Video Game Designers)
Jennifer deWinter, Carly A. Kocurek, Anastasia Salter
The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't
Robert I. Sutton
Progress: 140/210 pages
The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality
Julie Sondra Decker
The Mystic Marriage
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 302/426 pages
Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
Kazuto Tatsuta
Progress: 448/553 pages
The Naked Sun
Isaac Asimov
Progress: 20/187 pages

Upon a Midnight Clear by Ian Thomas Healy

Upon a Midnight Clear - Ian Thomas Healy

I usually pass short stories by anymore, even free ones, but I was in a downloading mood. This was free and was tagged with “artificial intelligence.” It didn't really work for the reason I downloaded it, but it was an okay short story.

A prospector named Rob Stabler is out working in the Asteroid Belt when he sees a flash of light. It might be a ship in trouble, so Stabler, as the closest prospector available, opts to go to it first while the other prospectors in the area join him ASAP.

I had hoped this would be a story about artificial intelligence, but it wasn't. Stabler brought up “Turings” occasionally. One of the other prospectors married his, but Stabler had no such feelings for Mona, his own ship's onboard Turing. Mona had a speaking role, but she and Stabler don't really chitchat, and her being an AI wasn't hugely important.

This sci-fi Christmas story was actually more about alien life. It got a bit too cutesie for me (seriously, Stabler, that's what you're going to call it?), and I couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen later. The cynical part of me doubted that it would be anything good, but the story itself would probably best be called heartwarming.

I never really know what to say about short stories. It was okay, and Healy's descriptions of Stabler's life were pretty good. The image I had in my head was actually a lot like the life of a trucker – lonely, smelly, and cramped, with something that reminded me of CB radio allowing for a loose connection between the nearby prospectors.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)