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Of Love and Other Monsters by Vandana Singh
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Of Love and Other Monsters

by Vandana Singh

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This is a slim little volume, less than a hundred pages, written from the perspective of a boy named Arun who wakes up amnesiac after a fire. He has the ability to weave the minds of those around him into a "meta-mind," a group acting as one-- but he can be caught and trapped by minds more powerful than his, and he's also fascinated by the minds he thinks of as solitons, which don't lose their coherence in the presence of a meta-mind. It's a nice little novella: I read my first work by Vandana Singh, The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and Other Stories, last year, and like the stories in that book, Of Love and Other Monsters has a compelling otherworldly feel, and a strong sense of voice and character. We follow Arun through a number of intimate relationships, some sexual, some romantic, some both, some neither, as well as a series of geographical relocations, from India to the United States, and beyond.

I enjoyed it, but I think I would have like it more if the "meta-mind" idea had actually mattered: we only see Arun do this once, and exactly what it means in practical terms is nebulous, and its role in the story could have been filled by more typical science fiction-style telepathy. The meta-mind seems like a great idea, so I was disappointed that Singh didn't really explore it. Still, a distinctive story by a unique voice, which is what Aqueduct Press's "Conversation Series" volumes exist to promote.
  Stevil2001 | Jun 12, 2016 |
An alien with the ability to manipulate human minds comes to terms with his existence on Earth. Main character is interesting in all the internal conflicts he has to deal with. ( )
  sdobie | Jun 5, 2009 |
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