The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species • 2012 • SF short story by Ken Liu



Bookmaking in the sense of writing books (not gambling) is done by all species in the universe. Liu gives us a five alien cultures which differ heavily in the way they write.


One sub chapter per culture, this short story reads like encyclopaedic entries. The entries are loosely connected, contain no story or character, even a frame is missing. Even though it is very imaginative, and I liked the single descriptions, the selection feels random and more like a brainstorming session in creative writing. It might give me insights to the author’s intention how to and what about he wants to write. As such, it works as an introductory story for his collection. But I didn’t buy into it, I didn’t feel a pulpish sense of wonder, it didn’t catch me emotionally or SFionally.

2 stars rounded up.

Meta: isfdb. This SF short story was published August 2012 in Lightspeed. I read it as part of The Paper Menagerie. It is also available for free.



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