"Scenting the Dark," Mary Robinette Kowal's debut short story collection is slim and spare and eminently satisfying. Kowal writes science fiction that uses our relationship to technology to expose our relationships to one another. Kowal is one of science fiction's most celebrated new writers, a winner of the Campbell Award for best new writer and a current Hugo nominee, all on the strength of her short fiction (she has two novels forthcoming from Tor), and it's easy to see why.
For me, the standout story here was Jaiden's Weaver, a tale that combines the astronomical reality of life on a ringed planet with a subtle and moving coming-of-age story. Like the other stories in this volume, it epitomizes Kowal's gift for using rigorous science fiction as a lever for prying open the subjective reality of the people who inhabit the futuristic world of now.
"Scenting the Dark" is a slim, handsomely made hardcover volume from the specialist house Subterranean Press, a great gift and a great treasure for yourself.
Be sure to check out Kowal's website for readings of her work (she's a talented and accomplished voice actor and puppeteer -- she read my story After the Siege for Subterranean's podcast), free downloads (she's a copyfighter, too!), and other supplementary material.
Scenting the Dark and Other Stories
Studio North was commissioned to refit an old elevator shaft in a converted warehouse loft in Calgary; they built a tall, narrow library with climbable shelves whose hand- and foot-holds retract into the shelving.
Libretaxi is an open source project that lets anyone become a rideshare driver in less than a minute; it has more than 20,000 users worldwide, and is maintained by Roman Pushkin, who started the project in December 2016 and is now planning to quit his job and work on it full time.
Mister Alphabet is an action-figure designed to cleverly bend and contort into every letter of the Latin alphabet; the website is long on trademark warnings and arty Instagram photos, but short on details, like, “Is this an object of commerce?” and “If so, where does one buy it?” (via Kottke)
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]
Custom coffee vessels are the perfect piece of office flair, but it’s just a matter of time before your VOTE FOR PEDRO mug will start to lose its relevant wit. Why not have a new one every day, with whatever silly nonsense you want sticking off the sides? You can save big on your novelty […]