Thumbs up for On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard. Science fiction.
I hate those “like X meets Y” comparisons for a variety of reasons, but since I’ve just had some alcohol I’m lowering my standards. “On a Red Station, Drifting” is Vietnamese family drama – the clash of two strong, arrogant women – in an Iain M. Banksian universe (quirky artificial intelligences, grand scale space culture in the backdrop). And it’s lovely. You can smell the fish sauce. I’m going to say what I always say about short pieces I like: I wish it had been longer.
She hadn’t come unprepared, of course. She’d read all about the stations, all about the Minds that held and regulated them, all about stations like Prosper and its Honoured Ancestress, and the family that peopled its core. But the truth of a Mind’s presence shattered the easy descriptions, the facile, clever similes written as glibly as inferior poems: it was its own self, the vast, dark presence that seemed to fold the air around itself, wrapped around the contraption in the centre of the room that might have been a throne, that might have been a tree with too many thorns; metal, twisting and buckling like a fish caught on land, its shifting reflections hurting her eyes…
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