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“That Game We Played During the War”, by Carrie Vaughn (Tor.com, March 2016)

Chess, two countries slowly developing a peace after a long war, two people from opposite sides tentatively renewing a friendship formed during the war, and one side is entirely telepaths. Generally pretty interesting. More thoughts below.

“A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, by Alyssa Wong (Tor.com, March 2016)

Two sisters with magical abilities over the weather and alternate histories.

“Seasons of Glass and Iron”, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)

Two fairytale protagonists rebel against their allotted labours and help each other escape.

“The City Born Great”, by N. K. Jemisin (Tor.com, September 2016)

A struggle to allow, or prevent, New York to become a living city. Really evocative, but I found it hard to get into.

“Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine, November 2016)

Likewise, doing something good but I find it hard to describe.

The john c wright one

In general, I'll vote any spam entries no award and not feel obliged to read them, but I checked some reviews. It talks about things I genuinely find interesting, like the relationships between asimovian robots and theology. But in rather horrible ways.

Some spoilers

OK, the war-chess one.

It did a fairly good job of establishing the world. A traditional sort of war. Telepaths etc.

But I had a lot of questions. The telepath people can block their minds to each other in order to not constantly bombard each other with thoughts? Is that only a politeness thing where they could always listen in if they tried? Or were the non-telepaths just unable or untrained in doing so?

The telepaths don't play strategy games because there's no point? Didn't we just do, they can ignore each other when needed? Or wear lead helmets for the duration? Or... just play anyway. I think two chess players who described all their thought processes aloud, the better one would still have an advantage. I admit, maybe not poker.

The viewpoint character taught a telepath "friend" chess, and demonstrated how it was possible to win against him, by playing intuitively and deliberately not thinking ahead, which was apparently meaningful for the war.

But I'm not sure it would make that much difference. Telepathy would definitely be an advantage, just knowing someone is *there* is useful, as is knowing "when they're going to attack". But an awful lot of, say, WWII was fought not really face to face, and even if you're nearby, everyone is confused and loud, is knowing that someone is about to charge your position or fire on you that much warning over them just doing it?

Communication with your own side could be a decisive advantage even over short distances. But it depends, is it easier to pick out different thoughts from different people than to pick out voices? Or harder? They described it as having across-a-room like range, is that ever better than talking?
How much concentration does it take to get a count of people? Stories about telepaths often mention basics of range, but don't cover enough detail to be sure how helpful it would be in that sort of situation.

And any strategic information is usually kept off the front lines.

Was there a time they weren't at war? Did they manage to coexist then?

OTOH, there's lots I did like. I usually only dig into things when I like them, even if a lot of what I say is questioning.

I like the description of someone adjusting to travelling somewhere where everyone can see her thoughts. I like the chess and the friendship they have. I like the rumours each side have about each other. I like the attention to, "how do you out-strategise someone in that situation". I liked the straight-forwardness of her fellow captive saying, go on, play chess with one of the prison officers, having a friend disposed to you is always good, yes, he'll know you think that, but you can be friendly anyway, and mean it.
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