Vonda N. McIntyre - The Crystal Ship. PDF

PDF 3.5 stars.

Let me preface this by saying that this book was never really going to be my thing. I'm not really into sci-fi, and even less into old sci-fi, and I don't really go in for short stories/novellas either. But I am into women writers, so here we are.

Each of these stories was better than the one before it. It's a real pity they weren't all as good as Screwtop, because then I would have enjoyed this collection a lot more. I felt that all three suffered from some overwriting and telling rather than showing, but to different extents.

I found The Crystal Ship confusing and hard to follow. I think it was going for a (heavy-handed) critique of colonialism, but its treatment of the native species mainly felt condescending (it read to me like the "noble savage" trope, set against the decadence of the spaceship dwellers) and made me uncomfortable. I didn't totally follow what was going on in this one, to be honest. It was only about 60 pages long and I still had to skim half of it to get through it.

I enjoyed Megan's World far more, and found the style and the characters much easier to engage with. It read far more like high fantasy to me, and I think it would have done well as a full-length fantasy novel. I really liked Megan herself, and I would have been interested to read what happens after the end of this novella. (view spoiler)