'Starlings' Showcases An Imagination That Stretches To The Stars

Jo Walton says her new collection isn't actually a book of short stories — rather, these pieces are jokes, exercises or odd poems. Either way, Starlings proves endlessly fascinating and inventive.
"Starlings" by Jo Walton Source: Tachyon Publications

It's startling to sit down to a perfectly good book of short stories, then encounter an introduction that says it isn't a book of short stories. Jo Walton's has been billed as her first short-fiction collection, but in her prelude, she says she only recently learned to write short fiction, and that she considers ' prose pieces to be jokes, exercises, or "poems with the line breaks taken out." Given Walton's prodigious talent and notoriously puckish' installments are minimal and ephemeral, with no sense of resolution. And they're often more about expressing a concept or building to a punchline than about telling a complete story.

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