Saturday, July 27, 2019

Birthday Review: Stories of Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

Today is Alvaro Zinos-Amaro's birthday. I've enjoyed much of his fiction over the past decade, both on his own and in collaboration (with the likes of Adam-Troy Castro, Thoraia Dyer, Alex Shvartsman, and of course Robert Silverberg. His book with Silverberg (Traveller of Worlds) was a Best Related Book Hugo nominee. His fiction can be searing "hard" SF or almost whimsical fantasy. Here are my reviews of his work from Locus:

Locus, September 2015

Newish writer Alvaro Zinos-Amaro contributes a very cool story about future art (and  critics!) to the September Analog, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”. Palsgrave Greshmenn is the leading collector of “Evolutive art”. He is visited by a much younger, and suitably deferential, collector, who has a job for him – culling a collection of another man of its inferior works. But when there he discovers a remarkable property of the collection … There's a twist coming of course, and it's intelligent and Sfnally interesting, combining questions of the rights of AIs (or EIs), ideas about the (quite interesting) nature of the postulated art form, and of course the nature of the main character.

Locus, August 2017

Lightspeed for July includes a fine Chinese-flavored fable – or morality tale – from Alvaro Zinos-Amaro and Adam-Troy Castro (conspiring as ever to make me misplace the hyphens in one of their names!), “A Touch of Heart”. Dou Zhuo is a farmer whose land produces little, and he becomes envious of his more successful neighbor. Eventually he finds the means to hire an assassin of the notorious Black Touch, which endeavors to fulfill their contracts with the least possible effort. When Dou asks for his neighbor’s death, the assassin arranges to kill him, by removing one second from his life span. Dou is furious, but learns to make his requests more specific – and eventually learns what will satisfy him with the least effort expended.

Locus, January 2018

Adam-Troy Castro and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro give us another of their Chinese-flavored morality tales in the November 21st issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. “The Mouth of the Oyster” tells of a fortunate couple who fall victim to a terrible plague, that leaves the husband blind and his wife somewhat crippled. But their love is if anything intensified, and so is their commercial success. Then a magician offers his product – eyes that can restore sight to the husband – but only one facet of sight – he might ask for beauty, or the ability to see deceit, or anything he can think of. But will the effect of this special sight be an unmixed blessing?

Locus, March 2019

Galaxy’s Edge in January is one of those issues which is readable from top to bottom, but never quite outstanding. ... Also interesting, but in the end a bit thin, is Alvaro Zinos-Amaro’s “All Show, No Go”, about a man who inherits an unexpectedly sophisticate AI from his estranged father. The AI has the ability to perfectly duplicate things, including rare pulp magazines, and the man and the AI use that ability to make a fortune – but, of course, there are unexpected consequences.

Locus, November 2018

Shades Within Us is an anthology devoted to “Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders”, and almost predictably, the better stories are those less rigorously meeting the anthology’s theme. ... By contrast, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro’s “Shades of Void” is all about the Science Fictional element – and still all about the personal side, as a man tells the story of his lover, whom he helped achieve his goal of using AI-amplification to explore stellar structures – at the cost of his health.

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