Short Story Review: A Salvaging of Ghosts by Aliette de Bodard

A Salvaging of Ghosts (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume 11) by Aliette de Bodard

Publisher: Solaris

Publication Date: April 18, 2017

Edition: ebook

Genre: Science-Fiction , Short-Story

Rating: 3/5


Xuya story.

Backcover:

The 11th volume in this much lauded series with incisive and genre-defining stories chosen my multi-award winning editor Jonathan Strahan.

The internationally-acclaimed ‘Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year’ series moves into its second decade with the very best science fiction and fantasy from around the world. Hard science fiction, space opera, epic fantasy, dystopia, alternate history, swords and sorcery – you can find it all in the more than two dozen stories carefully chosen for this book by award-winning anthologist Jonathan Strahan to give readers a captivating and always-entertaining look at the very best the genre has to offer.

Previous volumes have included stories from Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Cory Doctorow, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Joe Abercrombie, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Jeffrey Ford, Margo Lanagan, Bruce Sterling, Adam Robets, Ellen Klages, and many many more.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this story from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

What I love about anthologies, is the opportunities it provides to check out works from new authors and authors you’ve been wanting read. I’ve always wanted to read something by Aliette de Bodard (I actually own her Obsidian and Blood trilogy, but have never gotten around it), so I figured this short story would be a good place to start.

Thuy is on deck and ready to go on a dive salvaging. This is a different dive compared the rest though. This one will be close enough to the location where her daughter passes away, killed in the space, on a salvaging diver over a year ago – and this may be her only opportunity to get something from her body.

I need to start this review by saying this story is a part of The Universe of Xuya. I feel this is very important to mention because, while it didn’t affect the plot of the story in any way, it would have helped cleared up some world building questions.

Basically, where they are in space, is at the edge of reality – or something along those lines. Either way, if you body dies and corpse is left in space, it actually turn into these jewels. These jewels appear to be of some value, because this is what the scavenger are going out to relieves.

As for the uses of the jewels, I’m not quite sure, but I know you can put them in tea, and you can get a euphoria time of feeling from them. So, these jewels elicit some type of drug response.

Personally, that jewels phenomenon , the edge of reality of space, and why they were salvaging all this – it was great! Truly was! It just that nothing was explained, and I had zero knowledge of it before hand.

Don’t let that deter you from reading the story. It’s an emotional story about a mother dealing with loss and having to move. Had I  had been in another mind state (not day post-exam at 9:00 am) I may have connected more to what was happening.

Keep in mind, that I have NOT read any of the previous stories from The Universe of Xuya. However, from reviews I glanced over by other who have read The Universe of Xuya before… they have all given it 4 and 5 stars and say it is among her best work. I also read one review who says the go to her webster and recommends reading all these stories in chronically order.

I’ll reiterate: not having background knowledge of the word didn’t really inhibit my enjoyment of the plot (which is heavily focused on the mother dealing with the loss of her daughter and her decision to retrieve her remains), but it would have been nice to have that knowledge in the background to the story a bit more complete, as a whole.

3/5 Rating

-DJ

Date Read: 03/05/2017
Review Written: 03/05/2017
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