… the impotent air-raid siren of 400,000 human voices

The Quickening, by Michael Bishop

I’ve done a guest post for Joachim Boaz, who has a rather marvellous SF blog here.

It’s a review of Michael Bishop’s award winning novelette, The Quickening. Novelette’s a new term for me, it seems to mean a long short story published outside of a short story collection context. I’m not surprised the term didn’t catch on, but the story’s good.

Here’s the cover:


The review is at Joachim’s, as are a great many well-written reviews of classic SF novels and covers. It’s a fun site, and even if you don’t find SF interesting his book-cover discussions may well still grab you.


Filed under Bishop, Michael, Novellas, SF, Short stories

3 responses to “… the impotent air-raid siren of 400,000 human voices

  1. Thanks for the shout out!

    Novelette is actually a length description still used for the Nebula and Hugo awards. Here’s the incredibly arbitrary and rather silly (probably linked originally to magazine requirements about lengthy and serialization) word count breakdown used to assign the categories.

    Best Novel—Stories of 40,000 words or more
    Best Novella—Stories of between 17,500 and 40,000 words
    Best Novelette—Stories of between 7,500 and 17,500 words
    Best Short Story—Stories of less than 7,500 words

  2. The plot line of The Quickening reminds me a great deal of the Riverworld series by Philip Jose Farmer. Or at least the opening premise does.

  3. Of course! I should have thought of that. I really liked the first Riverworld, but like much SF the more that got explained the less power it had. Not sure how I’d find it reading it today.

    Joachim, thanks for the explanation.

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