Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review(ish): A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar

John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo Award) for Best New Writer Nominee: Sofia Samatar.

To check out this nominee, I listened to A Stranger in Olondria, by Sofia Samatar.

Spoilery thoughts behind the link.

It started out as a breath of fresh air after the violence of the Ramez Naam and Wesley Chu books. It is a nice descriptive story with a lot of focus on the world Samatar has built.

A couple of hours in, however.... Very little had happened. And while the descriptions were nice to listen to, I still didn't really have a good feel for the world. I had a feel for the people, as a people, but I found that I didn't have much feel for the individuals, even the protagonist. I decided to give it a little longer.

After another hour or so, still not much had happened. I was getting bored.

I've put it down for now. I'm checking out the Fancast nominees, and then I'll see.

Am I being too harsh? I know these are all new writers, and I shouldn't judge them as I would judge the Best Novel category.


  1. My reaction to this novel was very similar to your reaction. I was sooo bored :-( and stopped reading. It's good to know that your reaction was similar to mine: it makes me feel a little bit less bad, because many, many people wrote raving reviews about this book...

    But, I thought that the writing is style very poetic and I thought that I might like her short fiction, so I checked out her (Hugo nominated) short story and loved it. When I vote in this category I will definitely also take into account her short fiction, and I hope I will have the time to read more of her short fiction before voting closes.

    1. My thoughts exactly! I also loved her Hugo-nominated short story, and I'll definitely be taking that into account for the John W. Campbell award voting.

      I do enjoy the "sound" of the language in this novel - I haven't read many reviews yet, but I can see how some would love this. I guess maybe it's just not for me. :)

      I'm almost out of audio-format nominated material, so I may still give this novel another try before the voting deadline.