Oct 152015

Cover for Word Puppets by Mary Robinette Kowal. A white woman in a practical tanktop and pants hangs from sticks like a puppet in front of a sci-fi cityscape, a robot dog by her side, in front of a curtain and audience like she is on a puppet stage.Publishers Weekly: Kowal’s short works are difficult to classify, often poignant or tragic, and always spectacularly written. These 19 tales vary widely. “The Bound Man” spans ages within a dramatic alternate world; “Chrysalis” examines a single segment of an alien life cycle. Characters struggle to sort out difficult interfamilial relationships on a generation ship in “For Want of a Nail.” Readers will sympathize with a teenage girl who is both stereotypically American and undeniably fae in “American Changeling.” Some stories, such as “The White Phoenix Feather,” offer a moment of laughter to lighten the mood, but even within the humor, the writing is serious in execution, style, and timing. Kowal sends readers off on a breathless trip to the stars.