If you don’t yet know about the LeVar Burton podcast, “LeVar Burton Reads” let me have the distinct pleasure of being the one to tell you about it. LeVar Burton, he of Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: TNG reads you short stories. AND IT IS THE BEST THING EVER. He is an amazing reading and storyteller and just brings a big ol’ story to my face. Each episode is 45 minutes to about an hour, and he reads you the story and at the end, talks a little about it.
So, the reason I’m mentioning it, other then the inherent awesomeness, is because I discovered this brilliant short story collection as a result of listening to the podcast. He read the titular story, “What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky” and it was an incredible gem of speculative fiction, so I was excited to pick up the collection: I was not disappointed.
The title story is a gripping one, set in a world where we have been able to use mathematics to advance humanity in fantastic ways. There are people with the talent to calculate grief and take it away, for those that can afford it of course. In addition, we are able to use mathematics to calculate the trajectory of human flight. So, the story is about when one of these flights goes wrong. Every story isn’t as speculative as this one, she covers a wide depth of topics and is an impeccable writer: every word is essential and poignant.
I also enjoyed this collection as an audiobook, which was neat as audio was how I began my journey. The narrator was outstanding and really brought distinct voices to each character and tale. My only issue with the format, which isn’t a reflection of the author, is that some of the stories stopped in the middle of the audio file, so it was hard to start and stop. For that reason, I might have enjoyed reading this volume instead.