Alright, I've read Paul McAuley's "The Thought War", in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Three, edited by the consistently excellent Jonathan Strahan. I promised I'd tell you what I thought.
I liked it. A lot.
Here are some reasons why I think maybe I liked this one where I'm less excited about McAuley's novels:
- It's told in the first person, and I think maybe I sometimes have difficulty with the way McAuley writes in third person limited (at least, I think he's writing in third person limited...).
- It's about not one but two (and possibly three) physics ideas, all handled well.
- It's an idea story (or, really, ideas story), and so characterisation is less of a big deal.
- It's a good zombie story, and considering how irregularly those three words run up against each other like that, it must be doing something special.
- It's got unfathomable aliens, and that's how I like my aliens.
- It's really punchy, with a killer last line.
Lessons from this one: short is very, very good. A well delivered sting in the tail is totally awesome. Never ever write zombie stories unless your zombies are really, really, really different.