Squirrel Awakes / Toh EnJoe
Kindle Single 99¢ right now
I posted this five-star review on Amazon:
Toh EnJoe is one of the most innovative SF writers in Japan whose works are available in English. His Self-Reference Engine of a few years ago is unlike anything you've read. The Squirrel Awakes may be a short, but he packs a lot of story and interwoven technique into a story of the future of AI, automation, craftsmanship. And squirrels. Highly recommended.Color me intrigued, as I have a SF squirrel story I haven't been able to sell, I had to see what the Japanese take on squirrels was.
Toh EnJoe, in the two stories I read by him, is the undisputed master of layers. You drill down, only to start over again and drill though layers in another direction. I had a suspicion as to where the story might be going after a while, but not how Toh was going to get there. Fortunately, the ending satisfied.
And despite the detail of the layers, there is still a lot of mystery even after the story ends. If I was teaching a contemporary SF course, it's the kind of story you might get students to indulge in good comments and speculation. Even among your techie engineering types who think they are above English and literature courses.
I suppose one of the reasons I like Toh EnJoe's writing so much is that it is so smooth. He talks of the life of squirrels in detail, even as he is not talking about squirrels.
Definitively worth 99¢ for me, though I will confess that I am living off Amazon gift cards from friends as I toil in the rehab hospital. (grin)