Trade paperback, 206 pagesBorrowed from the library
Published 2013 (contents: 2002-08)
Read June 2015
Seeing that I was presenting on short Indian science fiction at the Science Fiction Research Association, it seemed I ought to read the short Indian science fiction written by the conference's guest of honor. I was glad I did-- Vandana Singh is a very different writer to Manjula Padmanabhan (one might glibly say that Padamanabhan's work is all about getting out of India, while Singh's is about getting back), but also a very good one. This volume collects all Singh's published short sf as of 2008, most of which I would classify as falling on the literary end of things, some even being more stories about science fiction than actual science fiction. Anyway, it's thoughtful, inventive stuff: the title story, for example, sees a man's wife transform into a planet, to the extent that her residents colonize him!
I particularly liked "Infinities," about an obsessed mathematician; "Hunger," about a dinner party gone bad through the small cruelties all of us commit every day in our need to get by; and "Three Tales from Sky River," an inventive set of folklore from another planet in another time. My favorite story in the book, though, was "The Tetrahedron," where a giant tetrahedron just appears in a city street one day, and its protagonist must try to figure out what it's doing and why it captivates her so much. No one else understands her interest, and I felt this sentence not only summed up the story, but also the book as a whole, and was just a lesson worth remembering: "outer space, inner space, both had unknown topologies. You couldn't overlook one at the expense of the other."