Cover Image: Where the Stars Rise

Where the Stars Rise

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Member Reviews

Anthologies are hard to write reviews for so I choose to review this one a little differently.

Five Reasons to Get Where the Stars Rise

The first thing that drew me to this book on Netgalley was the cover, I’ll admit it. It is absolutely stunning and just for that reason I don’t understand why I haven’t seen this book around the blogging sphere more. But the second was the anthologies under title; ‘Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy’. I love fantasy, and while I might not read it enough, I am also quite fond of Science Fiction. But let us be honest, it is a very white and male domineered genre. This is why I really wanted to give this book a chance.

+ One of the things that drew me in all of these stories was that they were all so very character driven. It all starts with the character. They are the center, the middle point. Everything else is woven around it. The fantasy and science fiction settings are the backdrop, not the foreground as you sometimes see in other short stories. This anthology tells the story of characters that feel so real. Of characters that are trying to find themselves in difficult worlds, throughout racism, prejudice, war and their own self doubts.

+ All of the characters are Asian characters. There are stories with Malaysian, Korean, Philippine, Chinese, Japanese characters and many more. There is such a richness and diversity to this book. No matter the setting, the culture and background of each character was brought into the story which created something unique.

+ The settings of these books all are diverse too. Some of these stories take place on our Earth, in the Philippines or America. Other stories take place in space, on ships or on the moon. There are so many amazing ideas in this book. So many settings I would love to see back in a bigger story. This goes for most of the characters too.

+ As you will see down below I rated all the short stories 3 stars or higher except one. That was also a very personal thing as I am sure that others might be able to like this story better than I did. For me, it doesn’t happen that often that I rate short stories in anthologies this highly. I think my favorite was Weaving Silk by Amanda Sun.

+ A portion of the anthology’s net revenue will go to support kids help phone. Isn’t that a great reason to go out and buy this anthology?

The afterword was filled with other fantasy and science fiction by Asian authors that you can go check out. I know I am going to check out a few of these mentioned.

Novella Ratings
I tried to write my thoughts down on all short stories initially but there are so many stories and I feel like I would do none of them any justice with just a few scribbled sentences in between reading.

2 stars -Spirit of Wine
3 stars - Vanilla Ice / Looking Up / A Star is Born / My Left Hand / DNR / A Visitation For the Spirit Festival / Joseon Fringe / Wintry Hearts of Those Who Rise / Crash / Memoriam
3,5 stars The dataSultan of Streets and Stars / Udatta Sloka
4 stars Weaving Silk / Rose’s Arm / Back to Myan / Meridian / The Observer Effect / Decision / Moon Halves / The Bridge of Dangerous Longings / Old Souls / The Orphans of Nilaveli

The Data Sultan
I would love to get more in this futuristic setting of Djinn-Robot. I loved that Istanbul was the first Metropole with a space station. And the idea of Djinn-Bots was great but I wasn’t sure I quite grasped them either. In that I think that a bigger novella or a full novel would work out a lot more.

Weaving Silk
I loved the details in this dystiopian. There is no real conclusion which is why it isn’t a 5 star read. But there are details in it like a younger child growing out of their clothes when there is no possibility to get bigger ones and things like that. I loved also the metaphors with silk that were used.

A Star is Born
Trigger warning for racial slurs

Back to Myan
It was good to see a story that was translated to English as well. There are many good authors that don’t write in English but in their own native language and we should seek out more often to translate these to English I feel.

The Bridge of Dangerous Longings
Trigger warning of rape

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A highly enjoyable, interesting collection of Asian-inspired science-fiction and fantasy short stories. The introduction to this collection was really thought-provoking, with many memorable quotes about the issue of diversity in the contemporary publishing industry

I was also very interested to read this in the wake of the controversy that arose when an editor told writer Leonard Chang his characters weren't Asian enough, which I think demonstrates that diversity is still a battle we have to fight, especially when it comes to mainstream publishing.

In 'Where The Stars Rise', the stories differed enormously, allowing breadth of genre and narrative. The only author in this collection I'd heard of before was Amanda Sun, as I've read some of her YA books. The others were all new to me. All the stories they brought to this collection were wonderful and interesting, with blends of history and the supernatural, space opera and sci-fi, and many more. Admittedly, some I did prefer some stories to others simply because the narrative content aligned more with my interests.

All in all, though, a wonderful read.

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I'd say 80% of these stories were 3* or higher. Well done! There were literal mermaids, reincarnations, creepy-ass spiders, stories about grief, racism, kinship, oppression, and even superheroes! All either set in an Asian country (including West Asia... not always represented) or had an Asian main character. Truly loved it.

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A great anthology for any sci-fi or fantasy fan looking to discover new voices. All are written by Asian authors and I found the themes and styles to be exceptional.. I felt the stories were predominantly in the fantasy realm. My favorite stories were Old Souls and The Orphans of Nilaveli. Orphans was my top pick but there wasn't a single story I disliked. I am glad I had the chance to read such unique and well told stories with a different spin.

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I very much enjoyed this short story collection. The stories are a mix of sci-fi and fantasy and there are some absolute gems in it. I have loads of authors now I want to read more of!

My favourite stories include Back to Myan by Regina Kanyu Wang, Weaving Silk by Amanda Sun, A Star is Born by Miki Dare, The Bridge of Dangerous Longings by Rati Mehrotra and Old Souls by Fonda Lee.

Back to Myan is pure sci-fi. A mermaid on an alien planet whose home world overheats. She is evacuated and her tail replaced with legs so that she can live on other planets.

Weaving Silk is a beautifully written story about two sisters trying to survive in a city after an earthquake killed their parents and cut the city off from the outside world.

In A Star is Born an old lady in a home has found a way to time travel back to earlier points of her life.

The Bridge of Dangerous Longings is an unusual story about a bridge that will kill you if you try to cross it.

Old Souls is a tale about reincarnation, and a young woman who can not only remember her own previous lifes, but also see the past lifes of everyone she comes into contact with.

There are a couple of stories that I didn't get on with, one that I just couldn't follow and one that I didn't get the point of, but overall the quality is very high.

I highly recommend this, it's an interesting and high quality collection and it's probably going to be one of my favourite books of this year. I hope they make volume two soon!

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I enjoyed this, for the most part. As with most short stories I've read, this was hit and miss. My favourite was Memoriam by Priya Sridhar. Overall however, they were pretty decent and varied and I love that the anthology itself is so diverse in Asian fantasy characters. Would recommend.

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I received an e-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was one of the few times a publisher on NetGalley granted my wish! And this anthology was an adventure, though space and regions where every part of the human psyche was covered. From lovers and drug dealers to revenge and politics this book has a gorgeous cast, amazing authors who I am going to check too (since I know only Amanda Sun!) and a glorious representation of the Asian culture, even through the spectrum of the sci-fi genre!

Truly recommended!

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I tried to read this but the writing didn't work for me...

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I can be fairly clueless.

I love anthologies and picked this one solely on the basis of its cover. I was not aware until I started reading the introduction (yes, I read the introduction and you should also) that it was a collection of Asian SF & fantasy.

Second background tidbit: I have been involved in fandom in one form or another for over 40 years until I mostly passed the baton on to my three minions (two females and a male).

This means, as a female heavily involved in fandom in the late 60's through the 00's, I've been marginalized, patted on the head, straight up disdained, called names, and worse. Some of the nastiness came from my 'peers' in non-fandom of course, but a discouragingly large amount came from other fans. Generally caucasian, nearly universally male. You grow a tough skin, you move on (or quit).

Fast forward to the time period between 2000 and the present day. Non-white-non-male fans and authors seemed more welcome to the dialogue and to bring N-W-N-M voices to the chorus. Things seemed to be going ticketty-boo. Then the backlash. There always seems to be a backlash. Puppygate, calling out Social Justice Warriors, etc etc.

For people who will read the description and think 'Where the Stars Rise is not for me'. Or 'these authors' voices are not speaking to things which concern me', this is a collection of well written (in some cases transcendent) stories which speak to our common existence. They're not all perfect of course, but all of them are worthwhile.

As stated on the cover, this is a collection of 23 short works written by Asian authors. As with all anthologies, it's a mixed lot. They're all in the 3-5 star range, well weighted to the upper 4 star range. There are some truly standout pieces; Memoriam by Priya Sridhar, Back to Myan by Regina Kanyu Wang, and The dataSultan of Streets and Stars, by Jeremy Szal were amazing for me. There are many more well written stories included, but just these three alone are worth the price of the anthology.

Why is it important to read and expose oneself to other voices and other ideas? It's precisely because our strength is in our diversity. Unity and understanding can only come from growth. What other people have to say is vitally important and if we're going to live together on this planet and not die together, we desperately need to stop marginalizing one another.

Four stars

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A wonderful, diverse collection of stories. A perfect anthology that dives into the world of myths and history with a good balance of past and present.

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Having only read Ken Liu previously in this genre, I was excited to get a sampling of many other authors with this book. Like most short story collections, there are always going to be the stories that grab you, and the ones that you end up skimming through. This was no exception, but there were far more chapters that interested me than I was expecting based on previous experiences with short stories.I liked the diversity between different cultures, and the fact that India and other areas were not excluded - something I've seen in other books when referring to Asian countries. I'll be looking up these authors for other works!

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Unable to finish book. Lost interest around the half-way mark. I found the earlier stories very interesting. However, the ones in the middle were not enough to keep me interested or motivate me to continue reading.

As I have not finished this book, I will hesitate to recommend and will not post a review online.

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3.5 stars. I love the breadth of stories and settings in this Asian SFF collection. While overall, I found the collection a little uneven (there were a number of stories that did not grab me at all), I'm very pleased to have read it, and expect that many readers will find some stories of interest. Most of the authors were new-to-me, and it was great to delve into some of the up-and-coming Asian writers in this genre!

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The Good
There was a good deal of variety in these stories, jumping between time periods and cultures, which made it fun to read because every story was new and different. It’s hard to review an anthology as a whole, because there will always be weaker and stronger stories and stories that each individual reader connects to more than others. Nevertheless, overall I found this to be a strong collection presenting a fresh perspective on science fiction and fantasy.

There’s also a great afterward on the state of Asian science fiction and fantasy, providing a lot of suggestions for further reading.

The Bad
As I said, I liked some stories more than others. Some had a particularly obvious moral (“The world must know that there are Asian superheroes!!”, but for each of those there was another story that was more nuanced and intersting.

The Verdict
This was a solid little anthology. Definitely check it out!

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I think pretty much all short story anthologies are uneven -- it's a grab bag, you're not going to like everything you grab -- but I was a little disappointed by how few of the stories really captured my attention, given how many of them there were. (Fonda Lee and Minsoo Kang's stories were the the only real standouts for me, and I'll be keeping an eye out for Kang in the future as he's a new name to me.) It felt like the intended audience wavered between YA and adult from story to story, and that made it hard to adjust my expectations; almost none of the stories were *speculative* enough for me, and most of them were too short to pack the kind of punch they wanted to deliver. I did very much appreciate the afterword discussing the recent explosion of Asian sci-fi/fantasy, but it made the lack of big name anchors in the anthology that much more obvious (where are Zen Cho and Ken Liu and Alyssa Wong?), which may have been the real problem now that I'm thinking about it. All of that said, every story in the collection was competently written and well edited, and mileage on short stories varies widely, so I would encourage any fans of speculative fiction to try the anthology out rather than taking my word for anything!

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Such a treat. It is so nice, and quite a revelation, to read Science Fiction/Fantasy authored by members of the Asian community. I loved the diversity of ideas and styles.
A recommended read.

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I got to stop requesting short stories and samplers... hate reading them because they just get good and its over!

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This amazing anthology of brilliant works transcends past and present, delves into history and mythology, while dabbling in political commentary in these imaginative worlds.

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