The Paper Menagerie and other stories (2016) by Ken Liu is a great collection of science fiction short stories that includes the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy award winning story in the title.
Liu’s stories are polished, calm and often very moving. They also reflect his identity in an interesting way. Westerners rarely, if ever, write about things like The Great Leap Forward or Japanese massacres in China the way Liu does.
There is hard science fiction in this collection as well as fantasy pieces set in the present, future and the past. For anyone who is interested in speculative fiction reading Liu is a treat.
We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (2016) by Dennis E Taylor is an entertaining sci-fi novel with a clever premise.
Bob is from our time, has just sold his company and has made it but meets an unfortunate end, but he has had himself cryogenically preserved. He wakes up and finds that he has had his brain put into a computer so that his consciousness can function. As an engineer and the type of person he is he finds this to be pretty neat and it doesn’t drive him crazy as it has with other people.
Bob has been put into a computer so that he can be used to run a Von Neumann probe, that is a spacecraft that can travel to other star systems and copy itself. Bob can do this and can clone himself and produce more bobs.
This is a really great premise but it’s hard to go on from this premise and write a good story. The book is really strong for quite a while.
The problem is creating a story and characters that you can really care about when your main character(s) is an almost godlike spaceship. Taylor does a reasonably good job at doing so and the book flows fairly well. It’s no Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but it is a fairly entertaining read. The book also sets itself up for sequels.
It’s a pretty outstanding bit of what seems to be self-published science fiction. It has a good idea and reads fairly well. It’s really pretty good fun.