First of all, NaNoWriMo is coming to an end! I reached my goals. Did you? That's great if you did, and better luck next time if you didn't. What happens next though? I think Chuck Wendig answers that question rather... colourfully... over at his blog in the post about wasting your efforts.
But on another note, today I wanted to talk about a short story that has won all three of Science-Fiction's major awards: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Award. I just so happen to be talking about Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu. I'll thank Nathan Bransford for the link to the story he left on his blog, where I read it just minutes ago.
First of all, let me just say that I have a soft-spot for sad stories. The themes presented somewhat reminded me of the stories in Haruki Murakami's after the quake, which you've heard me gushing over plenty of times before. However, at the same time, it was a completely different experience. I really loved the story overall. My only issue was the (SPOILER ALERT) long letter at the end from Jack's mother, giving her life story. It seemed like an info-dump to me, but placing it at the very end of the story resolved some unanswered questions and tied things up nicely. Paper Menagerie is well written, heavily sentimental and presents real issues faced by some children from interracial families, whilst weaving the scenes with a touch of Chinese magic.
After reading the story, I continued to read the comments left by other readers. I was SHOCKED to see so many negative reviews slamming it! Initially, it really pissed me off and I sat there thinking what a bunch of thoughtless, narrow-minded pigs. And while I still hold some of that resentment, I've taken a step back to consider why those people reacted that way. Yes, it was a very sentimental and melodramatic story. That's part of why I enjoyed it, but I guess other people have different preferences to me.
Although I really did love this story, admittedly, I am among those who are surprised that it won all three of those awards. I didn't feel it represented the genre of science-fiction as well as the winner of those awards should have. Science-fiction isn't really my genre though (yet fantasy is? Is that weird?), so I probably ought not be the judge of it.
So there's two things we can all discuss in the comments: How did your NaNoWriMo go and what is your take on Paper Menageries?