Hexarchate Stories by Yoon Ha Lee

May 2020

With the exception of “Glass Cannon”, which is essentially a short-story continuation of the Machineries of Empire series, this book is mostly a collection of what I’d call vignettes: short fiction snapshots followed by brief author notes in which Yoon Ha Lee explains the thinking or context behind the individual pieces. I didn’t love most of it, to be honest. Though it contributed to the world-building of the Machineries of Empire universe, it was also too…light-hearted maybe? And too revealing? Some of it is dark, but whereas the MoE books were dark with delectable flashes of humor, this felt like the opposite. Between the occasional jokiness and the explanatory author notes, I found some of the pleasurable mystique of the MoE universe being swept away. Maybe that’s more a reflection of my tastes than of the quality of the book, and other fans of the series seem to have enjoyed this very much. I appreciated being able to stay in the universe a bit longer and get a glimpse of what happened to Cheris and Jedao after Revenant Gun, but this book has nothing on the MoE trilogy to date (which you really need to have read if you want to understand Hexarchate Stories).

Further reading…