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The Collected Short Fiction of C.J. Cherryh

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Daw is thrilled to present the first and only complete and comprehensive volume of C.J. Cherryh's short fiction in trade paperback Featuring the short stories, novellas, and novelettes-including the award-winning story, Cassandra, and a new novella written specifically for this book-of the multiple award-winning author, this volume is a must-have for fans and newcomers al Daw is thrilled to present the first and only complete and comprehensive volume of C.J. Cherryh's short fiction in trade paperback Featuring the short stories, novellas, and novelettes-including the award-winning story, Cassandra, and a new novella written specifically for this book-of the multiple award-winning author, this volume is a must-have for fans and newcomers alike.


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Daw is thrilled to present the first and only complete and comprehensive volume of C.J. Cherryh's short fiction in trade paperback Featuring the short stories, novellas, and novelettes-including the award-winning story, Cassandra, and a new novella written specifically for this book-of the multiple award-winning author, this volume is a must-have for fans and newcomers al Daw is thrilled to present the first and only complete and comprehensive volume of C.J. Cherryh's short fiction in trade paperback Featuring the short stories, novellas, and novelettes-including the award-winning story, Cassandra, and a new novella written specifically for this book-of the multiple award-winning author, this volume is a must-have for fans and newcomers alike.

30 review for The Collected Short Fiction of C.J. Cherryh

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    The title says it all ... I'd actually read about 2/3 of this in the past; Collected Short Fiction includes the complete contents of two earlier books (Sunfall from 1981, which was also the original source of the cover painting, and Visible Light from 1986, Cherryh's first short story collection). The remaining third is previously uncollected stories from the late 1970's until the early 2000's. In order: Sunfall, the first portion of the collection, is a series of linked stories set in various ci The title says it all ... I'd actually read about 2/3 of this in the past; Collected Short Fiction includes the complete contents of two earlier books (Sunfall from 1981, which was also the original source of the cover painting, and Visible Light from 1986, Cherryh's first short story collection). The remaining third is previously uncollected stories from the late 1970's until the early 2000's. In order: Sunfall, the first portion of the collection, is a series of linked stories set in various cities of Earth in the exceedingly distant future -- kind of Cherryh's take on the Dying Earth. Each story is set in a different city, and the cities themselves are unique and are effectively characters in the stories -- for example, New York is now a conglomeration of impossibly tall towers, and the New York story is about a crew of construction workers. Cherryh also wrote one new Sunfall story (the only new story in the collection), this one set in Venice. It was fun to see her revisit the setting after all this time. Visible Light, the second portion of the collection, is pretty much a straight reprint of the contents of the original 1986 edition, which presented the stories and also let Cherryh give some background information and other musings. Some are fantasy; some are SF. My favorites were probably "Companions" (an astronaut marooned on a planet with no animal life) and "A Thief in Korianth" (sword & sorcery originally written for one of Lin Carter's Flashing Swords anthologies). The third part of the book, as mentioned, is an assortment of previously-uncollected tales -- I expect these are most or all of Cherryh's short fiction output that wasn't part of various shared-world anthologies (Thieves' World, Heroes in Hell, etc.). Several of the stories seem to have been written for themed anthologies; all are quite good. Most of the fantasy stories here (and, in fact, most of the fantasy stories in Visible Light) have a decidedly Celtic bent to them. I enjoyed them all but if I were to pick out a couple for particular mention they'd probably be "Pots" (SF; archaeologists investigate a dead world) and "Gwydion and the Dragon" (a young prince, a princess, a dragon, a curse -- standard ingredients but combined in unexpected ways).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael Battaglia

    Short stories are good for authors because they let them play with ideas that are either wildly different from what they would normally write and perhaps take ideas that can't be developed into a full brick of a novel into a still workable tale. Short story collections are often good for giving the reader a glimpse at what else an author can do besides what they might normally be used to without having to scour magazines and various anthologies to hunt down the interesting side trails, not unlik Short stories are good for authors because they let them play with ideas that are either wildly different from what they would normally write and perhaps take ideas that can't be developed into a full brick of a novel into a still workable tale. Short story collections are often good for giving the reader a glimpse at what else an author can do besides what they might normally be used to without having to scour magazines and various anthologies to hunt down the interesting side trails, not unlike haunting record shops and online auction sites to find the obscure B-side of some beloved band, although the latter scenario does have a better chance of turning into the basis for a romantic comedy, while the former probably has a higher chance of making you the subject of some cautionary documentary, depending on how that obsession is taken. Fortunately, at least in CJ Cherryh's case, her publisher was nice enough to come out with a large volume of collected short stories. It doesn't make any claims as to being complete and I'm not sure that it is, but as the author herself points out in the introduction, her output in that vein is fairly scant anyway so this is probably at best the cream of the crop, compiling two different out of print short story collections as well as various odds and ends that have appeared elsewhere. For me, this is an opportunity to what else Cherryh has to offer. I have an inordinate fondness for her Alliance-Union novels, which merge action and space politics and a view of aliens that feels truly alien at times while still being accessible like no one else has ever really done, at least not to that extent. And while I know she's written other novels and other series, none of them have ever really grabbed me enough to make me want to try reading them. So what we have here is a welcome variety in a format that she herself admits isn't really her forte. For the most part you can tell short stories seem to exist as a clearinghouse for ideas that don't quite have the thematic weight to carry an entire novel, although in the first collection, "Sunfall", she goes out of her way to theme each story after a famous city of the world, giving us future views of how the cities might develop without always sticking to strict science-fiction and more often than not venturing into fantasy (at least two of them, the Paris and the London tales, could be interpreted as ghost stories, though I suppose you could make a broad case for the Moscow one as well) . . . in generally every case the ideas are intriguing and in the New York story she manages to concoct a rather crackling political murder mystery case out of it. There's also one new story about Venice, which is entertaining enough without setting the world on fire. One thing that strikes me about her stories is how consistent she is . . . her stories have the mark of a master craftsman in the sense that you get the impression she doesn't write a short story (or anything, really) unless she's pretty confident of how the results are going to turn out. There's no wild experimentation at play here, no messing with story structure or points of view, they're well told and solidly told tales . . . sometimes I wish she took a few more chances but that's more a personal quirk than a comment on their quality. The second collection is a little more of a mixed bag, despite having a Hugo Award winner amongst its members ("Cassandra", which oddly is one of the few that didn't do much for me). You have to be saddled with a slightly pretentious interstitial piece between each story where she talks to an unnamed person about stories and the ideas behind the various stories, which didn't seem totally necessary but it was probably part of the original collection. Fortunately you get more actual science-fiction this time out, with a more expansive story that might qualify as novella length ("Companions") that she makes work with just one actual character and one of those alien viewpoints she's great with, this one encompassing an entire world. She also manages a couple decent fantasy tales that play with some genre conventions ("A Thief in Korianth", which otherwise reads like one of her SF tales despite the inclusion of swords) although some of the fantasy tends to get bogged down somewhat in itself, until you're not entirely sure what's going on ("The Brothers" suffers a little from this, although it manages to nail the landing more or less and achieving some nice otherworldly moments). In the last section of catch-all tales we finally start to get some Alliance-Union stories and, alas, accuse me of knowing what I like or being a space meat and potatoes kind of person, but I found those tales to be the best of the set, with "Scapegoat" managing a folded structure, layers of political considerations and an alien viewpoint that is vastly different but ultimately understandable, with an ending that even when you see it coming still hits like a punch in the gut. Some of the fantasy tales have touching moments ("Willow" in particular has a nice final line and "Sea Change" is creepy and touching, no mean feat). The fantasy tale I enjoyed the most consistently through was "Of Law and Magic" which takes a clever premise of an alternate world and has some fun with it. But it's the Alliance Union tales that feel the most grounded in actual stakes ("Mech" comes close, mostly by being gritty) and even when she's being somewhat goofy (the instant messaging sequences in the last tale), there's an urgent clatter and intensity to her space stories that all the fantasy and ghost stories, for all their merits are often somewhat lacking. If nothing else, it proves that the best place to experience Cherryh is in the novels (preferably the Alliance-Union ones, in my opinion) as the length gives her the room to really stretch out and develop the situations and themes but the short stories prove that she has more sides to her than what might first appear. You can imagine it as a sampler of sorts, keeping in mind that if you like these, there's only better ahead.

  3. 4 out of 5

    StarMan

    RATING: 4 suns or thereabouts. REVIEW: Fantasy & SF. Mostly 3-4 star tales, two 5-star memorable. Imaginative author Cherryh rarely disappoints. Includes one of the best shorts I've ever read, entitled "Companions." RATING: 4 suns or thereabouts. REVIEW: Fantasy & SF. Mostly 3-4 star tales, two 5-star memorable. Imaginative author Cherryh rarely disappoints. Includes one of the best shorts I've ever read, entitled "Companions."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    A huge range of stories: hard sci fi, high fantasy, alternate reality. The quality is mostly good, with some baffling, at least one or two hilarious, and a few that are stunningly beautiful. I'd pretty much recommend this book to anyone. A huge range of stories: hard sci fi, high fantasy, alternate reality. The quality is mostly good, with some baffling, at least one or two hilarious, and a few that are stunningly beautiful. I'd pretty much recommend this book to anyone.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gregg Wingo

    OK, folks, I am going to use a term that I absolutely hate: speculative fiction. There is no other way to describe what C.J. Cherryh does in this collection. She illustrates her mastery of SF, fantasy, horror, detective stories, and Classicalism - her formal field of study. Not only does she cover them all she mixes them to create something astoundingly nove and in the shorter storytelling formats no less. This is, of course, best realized and recognized in the Hugo Award winning "Cassandra" whi OK, folks, I am going to use a term that I absolutely hate: speculative fiction. There is no other way to describe what C.J. Cherryh does in this collection. She illustrates her mastery of SF, fantasy, horror, detective stories, and Classicalism - her formal field of study. Not only does she cover them all she mixes them to create something astoundingly nove and in the shorter storytelling formats no less. This is, of course, best realized and recognized in the Hugo Award winning "Cassandra" which combines nuclear holocaust SF with the Greek myth of the doomed Trojan princess. The collection is divided into three parts. The first is a previously released end-of-the-world collection, "Sunfall", with tales centered on the once great cities of a dying Earth. This section has been lengthened with a new tale concerning Venice. The second section is an expansion of the 1986 collection "Visible Light". There are no "new" stories added to this collection but rather pieces published in other collections from 1978-84 have been attached including the aforementioned "Cassandra" and "A Thief in Korianth". The final section entitled "Other Stories" is just that and includes tales from the late 70s to 2002. They are a welcomed addendum including gems such as the haunting "Willow, the tragic "Pots", and the police thriller "Mech". Jumping genres may be more challenging for the reader than it clearly ever was for the author. Cherryh is a master of SF but this book will leave no doubt she could have shined in any speculative fiction category.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Individually I would rate a few of the stories at 4 stars and others at 5, so I took the 4.5 average and rounded up. I first read a story by Cherryh back in the 1980's though I cannot recall the title. Fast forward 30 years to the present and upon searching the sci-fi section and plumbing my memory for someone who made a lasting impact on me, Cherryh's name popped up. I figured a collection of short stories would be a good starting place. I love her concepts and how she plumbs them out. Her vast Individually I would rate a few of the stories at 4 stars and others at 5, so I took the 4.5 average and rounded up. I first read a story by Cherryh back in the 1980's though I cannot recall the title. Fast forward 30 years to the present and upon searching the sci-fi section and plumbing my memory for someone who made a lasting impact on me, Cherryh's name popped up. I figured a collection of short stories would be a good starting place. I love her concepts and how she plumbs them out. Her vast knowledge of human history, of human frailty, and of human perseverance shine through in her writings. The entire Sunfall series is a litany of ideas set near the end of existence on Earth as the sun is dying and humanity has reached its logical evolutionary ends. The other truly outstanding story, at least in my mind, is COMPANIONS. Cherryh's portrayal of a marooned man on a foreign planet where it appears he is the only living being , his only companion a robot, is haunting in its beauty and Orwellian in resolution. This is a book which in future will be reread in portions whenever I yearn for a short story to read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Povey

    Cherryh is an author who works best in longer forms. In fact, often in very long forms - her Foreigner series is pretty much science fiction's Wheel of Time. This curated collection of the best of her short fiction, though, does contain some true gems. My favorite was probably "Of Law and Magic," a novelette originally published in Moonsinger's Friends. I also liked "Gwydion and the Dragon," a novella that earned a World Fantasy award. And even her bad stories are better than a lot of people's goo Cherryh is an author who works best in longer forms. In fact, often in very long forms - her Foreigner series is pretty much science fiction's Wheel of Time. This curated collection of the best of her short fiction, though, does contain some true gems. My favorite was probably "Of Law and Magic," a novelette originally published in Moonsinger's Friends. I also liked "Gwydion and the Dragon," a novella that earned a World Fantasy award. And even her bad stories are better than a lot of people's good ones. You can see how she earned her place as a Grand Master. I did find the science error in the Sunfall stories somewhat egregious. I won't say what it is, but read for it and see if you can find it. Even if you already own Sunfall and Visible Light you might find this worth getting as the best stories are the ones not from those collections. Her novels are still better, but this collection is worth a read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fraser Sherman

    This collects Sunfall (a collection about Earth's great cities in the final age of the world), Visible Light (Cherry's first short fiction collection) and various uncollected stories. Quality is variable, but the best stuff is good enough for a four star average. The weakest part was actually the individual introductions to the Visible Light stories, in which Cherryh tries to be deep and fails miserably. Overall I prefer the fantasy stories to the SF, but that's personal taste. Long, but very fe This collects Sunfall (a collection about Earth's great cities in the final age of the world), Visible Light (Cherry's first short fiction collection) and various uncollected stories. Quality is variable, but the best stuff is good enough for a four star average. The weakest part was actually the individual introductions to the Visible Light stories, in which Cherryh tries to be deep and fails miserably. Overall I prefer the fantasy stories to the SF, but that's personal taste. Long, but very few wasted pages.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Groucho42

    As the title says, a big collection. She's one of the few authors who can write both science fiction and fantasy and this collection shows it. All of Sunfall, an early collection, can be ignored. The stories were simplistic and trite. The rest were hit and miss, great to annoying. My favorite two were "The Scapegoat" and "Wings". The first is a wonderfully poignant look at war and misunderstanding. The second is a funny little ditty. Completely different emotions but both hit their notes perfectly As the title says, a big collection. She's one of the few authors who can write both science fiction and fantasy and this collection shows it. All of Sunfall, an early collection, can be ignored. The stories were simplistic and trite. The rest were hit and miss, great to annoying. My favorite two were "The Scapegoat" and "Wings". The first is a wonderfully poignant look at war and misunderstanding. The second is a funny little ditty. Completely different emotions but both hit their notes perfectly.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Myridian

    I still consider Cherryh one of my favorite authors. These stories weren't bad and some of them were wonderful, but the majority were so good at evoking a bleak, sometimes macabre settings where larger forces ran over the characters and frequently made their lives miserable despite their own striving. This was definitely true of the Sunfall series of stories. It is true that as the collection progressed there were more moments of lightness. Another disappointment to me was that the interludes in I still consider Cherryh one of my favorite authors. These stories weren't bad and some of them were wonderful, but the majority were so good at evoking a bleak, sometimes macabre settings where larger forces ran over the characters and frequently made their lives miserable despite their own striving. This was definitely true of the Sunfall series of stories. It is true that as the collection progressed there were more moments of lightness. Another disappointment to me was that the interludes in which Cherryh wrote what is presumably herself into intersteller airplane conversations with another traveler came across as pompously self satisfied. Like by looking into the void and bringing some interpretation back to the masses the writing is above it all. So I guess we are establishing that the void is probably not my favorite place to begin with, but I'm also not so sure that we need more void than we already have in our lives.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kotila

    Some of the stories weren't what I expected, but still an enjoyable read. Some of the stories weren't what I expected, but still an enjoyable read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    DNF 4 🌟 The Haunted Tower 5 🌟 Companions

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessa Forest

    My favorite story in this collection is The Scapegoat.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    This is a review on The Threads of Time, which I give 3/5 stars. This was definitely a story of two parts. The first part is about the qhal - who they are or what they look like, really, isn't given. My mind said 'humanoid', if not human. The general gist is that they found a Gate, and that Gate led to others and they're able to time travel - only going forward in time, mind through the Gates. And then that ALL of them are at the last gate (another end-of-time story) and they're too scared to go This is a review on The Threads of Time, which I give 3/5 stars. This was definitely a story of two parts. The first part is about the qhal - who they are or what they look like, really, isn't given. My mind said 'humanoid', if not human. The general gist is that they found a Gate, and that Gate led to others and they're able to time travel - only going forward in time, mind through the Gates. And then that ALL of them are at the last gate (another end-of-time story) and they're too scared to go through it. I had some questions with this. Firstly, if one's not allowed to go back in time but only forward, one's never going to know what's beyond the Gate you're about to go through, so how do they know it's the final ever Gate and how do they know there's nothing beyond it? This is assisted by my second curiosity, and that is that the time-menders cannot discuss their knowledge outside of their circle of time-menders, so they cannot have created the fear of the last time-Gate that is in the general populous. Oh, and anyway, no-one apparently returns from beyond the last time-Gate, I guess this includes time-menders, so perhaps THEY know that it's a dead end gate.. Still. This first part of the story is very disjointed, making it quite difficult to sort out what it is I'm meant to be taking in. The second part of the story focuses on a single qhal, Harrh, and his family. Harrh is a time-mender, an agent who is able to travel back and forward in time. He is looking forward to time with his family, when another agent appears. From there, things unravel. The second part of the story is more coherent, makes more sense, and flows more easily than the first part. A connection with Harrh was made, one sympathised with his wish to spend time with his family before disappearing again on his travels. Overall a thought-provoking read, but not easy, initially at least.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Allen

    So, to begin with, I'm a huge C.J. Cherryh fan. Her novels, and stories, fall right into the categories that I am a huge fan of (Sci-Fi and Fantasy). However, unlike many authors who do this, her novels have a style and thought in them that many of the more prolific writers lack. This book is a collection of her Short Fiction, and it is one of the best collections I've read. I am not going to review each piece as this book is as long as 3 novels of the same style. There were a few stories that I So, to begin with, I'm a huge C.J. Cherryh fan. Her novels, and stories, fall right into the categories that I am a huge fan of (Sci-Fi and Fantasy). However, unlike many authors who do this, her novels have a style and thought in them that many of the more prolific writers lack. This book is a collection of her Short Fiction, and it is one of the best collections I've read. I am not going to review each piece as this book is as long as 3 novels of the same style. There were a few stories that I felt dragged a bit, but overall they were great, fast reads and thought provoking. In addition, if you have read some of her longer fiction you get glimpses into how her novels emerge, or even proto-stories that eventually were turned into longer books. My particular favorite was "A Briefer History of Time." It's one paragraph and it might just be one of the funniest and, arguably, accurate pieces of storytelling written. If you are a fan of Science Fiction, Fantasy, or good writing than I highly recommend this book; and if you've never read a C.J. Cherryh novel than this is an amazing introduction to a deservedly award winning writer. Check It Out!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    It's a mixed bag, like any anthology. I will say the range is great - high fantasy to urban fantasy to space opera and hard sf. Cherryh says in her forward that she is not a short story writer, and that's kinda clear by the dominance of novellas in the collection. I also got a bit of a feeling that she likes to take her time with long openings and her endings seemed rushed in comparison. Still a fan, but I'd say about one-quarter of the stories just didn't thrill me, one quarter really did, and t It's a mixed bag, like any anthology. I will say the range is great - high fantasy to urban fantasy to space opera and hard sf. Cherryh says in her forward that she is not a short story writer, and that's kinda clear by the dominance of novellas in the collection. I also got a bit of a feeling that she likes to take her time with long openings and her endings seemed rushed in comparison. Still a fan, but I'd say about one-quarter of the stories just didn't thrill me, one quarter really did, and the rest were neither memorable nor disappointing. I liked the last story, about independent operators on a space lane communicating via chat and banding together to save their home planet from a missile, inbound debris from a long-dead war. Also liked the story about a far-future New York maintenance worker and the story about a cop in a hard-suit making a split-second decision. Yeah, guess those were my favorites.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Buzz H.

    An outstanding collection of short tales from one of the best fantasy and SF authors alive. I particularly recommend Pots, a tale of alien archeologists arriving on a future Earth. I loved this one so much that I have re-read it a dozen times. My other favorite in this collection is The Last Tower. This is a little gem of a tale with a great origin story of its own. While at a science fiction convention Ms. Cherryh was challenged on a Friday to write a short story on the back of a postcard (!) th An outstanding collection of short tales from one of the best fantasy and SF authors alive. I particularly recommend Pots, a tale of alien archeologists arriving on a future Earth. I loved this one so much that I have re-read it a dozen times. My other favorite in this collection is The Last Tower. This is a little gem of a tale with a great origin story of its own. While at a science fiction convention Ms. Cherryh was challenged on a Friday to write a short story on the back of a postcard (!) that would be read aloud at the closing gathering of the convention on Sunday. The story is only about half a dozen pages (she says that she wrote it with a micropoint). It is a work of art. A craftswoman at the height of her powers, under pressure, who really delivered! I read it aloud to a group of my neighbors a few months ago at a community gathering. They loved it. I imagine many of you would too.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marti Dolata

    A permanent addition to my home library. Two stand outs: Scapegoat - If I were publishing an anthology of military SF, I would absolutely include this. Thoughtful, gritty and moving. I'd also include it in one about alien contact. Cassandra If you ever wondered what it felt like to be a teen growing up during the cold war years, this story captures the emotion, so, so clearly. The fear and dread. I just reread it in Women of Futures Past: Classic Stories and it all came back to me. It is also i A permanent addition to my home library. Two stand outs: Scapegoat - If I were publishing an anthology of military SF, I would absolutely include this. Thoughtful, gritty and moving. I'd also include it in one about alien contact. Cassandra If you ever wondered what it felt like to be a teen growing up during the cold war years, this story captures the emotion, so, so clearly. The fear and dread. I just reread it in Women of Futures Past: Classic Stories and it all came back to me. It is also included in this volume.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Vince

    I've enjoyed a number of Cherryh's novels for her rich characterization, world-building, and artistic use of language. These short stories showcase more of these skills, but I just found that the length of the collection and my limited time...well, for whatever reason it just wasn't compelling me to come back and move past about 1/3 of the way through. I'm sure I'll dip into this again over time...but for now I want to clear this off of my reading list as I haven't dipped into it for months and I've enjoyed a number of Cherryh's novels for her rich characterization, world-building, and artistic use of language. These short stories showcase more of these skills, but I just found that the length of the collection and my limited time...well, for whatever reason it just wasn't compelling me to come back and move past about 1/3 of the way through. I'm sure I'll dip into this again over time...but for now I want to clear this off of my reading list as I haven't dipped into it for months and have moved it from my bed-stand back to my bookshelf. I'm giving it 2 stars because I just didn't find it compelling enough to finish as a collection. Some of the individual stories are worth 3 or 4 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Abby Ball

    This is a review on the story "Companions" in particular. I thought it was amazing how the author portrayed the decaying of the human mind as a result of isolation. The fact that Warren began to construct a sentient being out of his own mind just to cope with being alone and that the author strung you along, having you believe the being existed, amazed me. It was truly beautifully written. The story line was compelling and I wanted to read it all in one go despite how long the story was, and fin This is a review on the story "Companions" in particular. I thought it was amazing how the author portrayed the decaying of the human mind as a result of isolation. The fact that Warren began to construct a sentient being out of his own mind just to cope with being alone and that the author strung you along, having you believe the being existed, amazed me. It was truly beautifully written. The story line was compelling and I wanted to read it all in one go despite how long the story was, and finding out there really was only one character in the end was mind-blowing. It truly opened my eyes to what was going on in the story and it was the most mentally engaging story I have read in a long time!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Cherryh has a great talent for creating realities that are very accessible and real, and yet very unlike the one we live in. Some of her stories are fantasy, some science fiction, and some seem to be one but are actually the other. She doesn't take shortcuts with her genres, but gives you the complete picture you need in order to immerse yourself in the world of the particular story. I was not dissapointed with any of the stories in this anthology, although some, like the final story, stood out Cherryh has a great talent for creating realities that are very accessible and real, and yet very unlike the one we live in. Some of her stories are fantasy, some science fiction, and some seem to be one but are actually the other. She doesn't take shortcuts with her genres, but gives you the complete picture you need in order to immerse yourself in the world of the particular story. I was not dissapointed with any of the stories in this anthology, although some, like the final story, stood out as truly excellent. Fans of a specific genre within her work will find that some stories in here will not be of interest, while others will be mind-bending.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Menashi

    Definitely a mixed bag, more so than other short fiction compendiums I've read. The Cities stories were good, though I think the American, Russian and French ones were the best of those. Cherryh is very much constrained by the short story, and it shows - most of her work in here are practically novellas in themselves. She doesn't sound comfortable in this format, and I think it does affect the quality of her stories (even though I haven't read any of her novels to compare). Overall 3 stars. Some 1 Definitely a mixed bag, more so than other short fiction compendiums I've read. The Cities stories were good, though I think the American, Russian and French ones were the best of those. Cherryh is very much constrained by the short story, and it shows - most of her work in here are practically novellas in themselves. She doesn't sound comfortable in this format, and I think it does affect the quality of her stories (even though I haven't read any of her novels to compare). Overall 3 stars. Some 1 star, some 5 star, so it seems like a good average.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emiley

    Lately, I've been reading more short fiction because of my inconsistent work schedule. So far, I've finished the Sunfall portion of the collection, which is an interesting collection of stories set in the twilight years of famous cities. Her characterization of decaying or growing cities rely as much on the personalities of the cities themselves as aggregates of commerce, culture, people, and architecture as the actual events described. I found the stories set in Paris, London, and New York to b Lately, I've been reading more short fiction because of my inconsistent work schedule. So far, I've finished the Sunfall portion of the collection, which is an interesting collection of stories set in the twilight years of famous cities. Her characterization of decaying or growing cities rely as much on the personalities of the cities themselves as aggregates of commerce, culture, people, and architecture as the actual events described. I found the stories set in Paris, London, and New York to be particularly well-drawn.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra

    This was a feast; Cherryh is a good writer, and while I did not think highly of all the stories, there were some that I thought very well done indeed. I liked also to see her writing in other universes (Korianth, Liavek) -- she does well when she does not have to try to explain the background, I think, although she is such a complex writer and her prose style has changed so much over the years (becoming ever denser, it seems) that I am not really capable of evaluating her better or worse. I enjo This was a feast; Cherryh is a good writer, and while I did not think highly of all the stories, there were some that I thought very well done indeed. I liked also to see her writing in other universes (Korianth, Liavek) -- she does well when she does not have to try to explain the background, I think, although she is such a complex writer and her prose style has changed so much over the years (becoming ever denser, it seems) that I am not really capable of evaluating her better or worse. I enjoyed even the ones I did not think were very good, and I am glad I read them all.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This is an intimidating book but I'm glad I made the effort. I got so momentarily lost in her poetry. Until a loud noise brought me back to reality. Such language she uses that you can imagine her worlds. I do prefer her science-fiction stories to her fantasy ones. My fav story was "Companion." I want to read the sequel! This is an intimidating book but I'm glad I made the effort. I got so momentarily lost in her poetry. Until a loud noise brought me back to reality. Such language she uses that you can imagine her worlds. I do prefer her science-fiction stories to her fantasy ones. My fav story was "Companion." I want to read the sequel!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    I had big hopes for this book, and although i liked some of the stories very much in the whole it was a challenge to stay with it. I did like the idea of a space faring story telling person. it's good to know we'll have sci-fi in the future. I had big hopes for this book, and although i liked some of the stories very much in the whole it was a challenge to stay with it. I did like the idea of a space faring story telling person. it's good to know we'll have sci-fi in the future.

  27. 4 out of 5

    NM

    If anything, this book is worth it for 'The Scapegoat' alone. That has to be all-time favorite novella, and I'm just amazed it didn't win the Hugo award. I enjoyed the majority of her other stories, especially her short fantasy stories, but 'The Scapegoat' stands out in this collection. If anything, this book is worth it for 'The Scapegoat' alone. That has to be all-time favorite novella, and I'm just amazed it didn't win the Hugo award. I enjoyed the majority of her other stories, especially her short fantasy stories, but 'The Scapegoat' stands out in this collection.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Norm Evangelista

    Excellent collection of C.J. Cherryh's often remarkable short stories. Her storytelling sometimes gets lost in the intricate world-building of her novels, but her love of storytelling shines through in her short fiction. Excellent collection of C.J. Cherryh's often remarkable short stories. Her storytelling sometimes gets lost in the intricate world-building of her novels, but her love of storytelling shines through in her short fiction.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Charl

    I only like some of Cherryh's work, so this collection just didn't work for me. But if you like her work overall, don't pass this up. I can tell it's a good selection of her shorter fiction. It's just not to my taste. I only like some of Cherryh's work, so this collection just didn't work for me. But if you like her work overall, don't pass this up. I can tell it's a good selection of her shorter fiction. It's just not to my taste.

  30. 5 out of 5

    DaughterDaDa

    Liked the science fiction stories. Didn't care for the fantasy stories. Liked the science fiction stories. Didn't care for the fantasy stories.

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