03 April 2015

Review Roundup: ZUGZWANG

Posting this to track reviews for a former 512 which became a longer story, and was published last September! You might see some ETA's below as time goes on...


Games with aliens. The sort of story that's not in the least bit groundbreaking, but still enjoyable.

Psocoptera, "2014 online short fantasy and science fiction recommendations, part 6"

A middle-aged woman is challenged to a game of alien chess to save the crew of a spaceship. This story could’ve been bleak, but instead it made me happy and hopeful.

Sara Norja, "Sunday recs: Fairytale, memory loss, alien chess"

[T]his story is about an alien encounter and it hooked me in right from the beginning. Its writer’s name is Curtis [C.] Chen. As a big fan of Ted Chiang and Ken Liu (if you haven’t heard of them, you’re missing out on some awesome stories!), I was curious to see another Chinese American name.

And I wasn’t disappointed. The story was excellently crafted. The plot had tension and several layers of things going on, yet no word seemed redundant and all of the sentences were simple-yet-varied.

Natso, "A Cool Sci-Fi Short Story, A Question That Sprouted From It"

ETA (28 Mar 2016):

Although space chess is never a terribly original idea for a story, I rather liked Curtis C. Chen’s “Zugwang.” While he definitely dwells a little too much on his heroine’s insecurities about her body, and things are tied up a little too neatly at the end of the tale, it was solid enough to get me to read his other two stories [in Up and Coming].

Bridget McKinney, SF Bluestocking

(original 512: "Zugzwang," posted 29 Mar 2013)

Thanks for reading!


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