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Telling the Map: Stories Paperback – July 11, 2017
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I had only read one of Christopher Rowe’s stories before, so I didn’t really know what to expect from this book, and although there were a couple of stories that didn’t grab me, it has left a pleasant taste in my mouth.
Telling the Maps is a varied collection that compiles ten pieces of different lengths (from flash-fiction to novella), styles and genres. Most of the stories (the strongest ones, in my opinion) can be classified as science fiction, Kentucky-dystopian science fiction more specifically in several cases, with a few and interesting examples of religious dystopian science fiction, like Rowe’s award-nominated “Another Word for Map Is Faith”, my highlight from the book.
I also enjoyed “The Voluntary State”, another of Rowe’s more popular stories, in which he describes another weird and intriguing dystopian world that in my opinion was too complex and new for a piece of this length, making the story a bit confusing and too centered in the world-building to the detriment of the plot and characters. On the contrary, the “The Border State”, a new novella that takes up the second half of this collection, set in this same world, was the perfect length to continue discovering this society in a more relaxed and enjoyable way, and it was my second highlight in this volume thanks to those threatening and disturbing rivers and despite the fact that I don’t like cycling at all.
Overall, an interesting collection that I would recommend to any science fiction fan, and the perfect way to start discovering Rowe’s short fiction.