Mini Review: Starlings by Jo Walton

Rating: ★★★✩✩

Date Read: December 30, 2017

Date Published: February 13, 2018

Publisher: Tachyon Publishers

First Thoughts: This is an eclectic collection of short stories, poems, and even a play that go over science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary works.

Obligatory Statement: I received this e-arc through NetGalley through the publisher and this in no way affected my review and all thoughts are my own.


An intimate first flight of short fiction from award-winning novelist Jo Walton (Among Others, The King’s Peace).

A strange Eritrean coin travels from lovers to thieves, gathering stories before meeting its match. Google becomes sentient and proceeds toward an existential crisis. An idealistic dancer on a generation ship makes an impassioned plea for creativity and survival. Three Irish siblings embark on an unlikely quest, stealing enchanted items via bad poetry, trickery, and an assist from the Queen of Cats.

With these captivating initial glimpses into her storytelling psyche, Jo Walton shines through subtle myths and wholly reinvented realities. Through eclectic stories, subtle vignettes, inspired poetry, and more, Walton soars with humans, machines, and magic—rising from the everyday into the universe itself.

My thoughts:

To use one word to describe this it would be that it is eclectic. The stories were my favorite part and they were very short for short stories. Some were just a couple of paragraphs and other were about 5 pages long. My one of my favorite was Jane Austen to Cassandra, which was a short exchange between Jane Austen in the Regency era and Cassandra, in Ancient Greece. Think The Lake House but two pages long and something I never knew I needed before I read it.  Turnover was an original science fiction story centered around a group of teenagers on a long distance spaceship. First, there is space ballet which is again something I did not know I needed and how our actions can affect the future. Plus there was lots of gnocchis which I love. I think that I would really enjoy reading longer versions of these.

Now some of the stories were really weird. For example, At The Bottom of the Garden, which is about a child who pulls the wings off of a fairy. And this child is freaking sadistic; she is pulling off the fairies wings and then kills the fairy after her friend invites her to go swimming. It was a great expose on how we humans treat smaller creatures. The play, Three Shouts on a Hill, was cool but still very weird. Also, the ending was pretty good and made it worth the read. The poetry was my least favorite part of the whole book as I am not really one for poetry and some of them I had a hard time understanding.

Overall, if you want something short to read but is brain food that I would definitely suggest reading this.

(Cover Image and Synopsis from GoodReads)

Thank you again to the publisher for sending me this copy to review.

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