Book Reviews

Review: The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

Ken Liu is an author who I’ve always been really interested in, but haven’t always had a chance to read. I own Grace of Kings, but wow that is a chunky book. So when Traci Chee recommended I read The Paper Menagerie, I jumped at the chance. Here was a much lower stakes way to be introduced to his writing. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


With his debut novel, The Grace of Kings, taking the literary world by storm, Ken Liu now shares his finest short fiction in The Paper Menagerie. This mesmerizing collection features all of Ken’s award-winning and award-finalist stories, including: “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” (Finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon Awards), “Mono No Aware” (Hugo Award winner), “The Waves” (Nebula Award finalist), “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species” (Nebula and Sturgeon award finalists), “All the Flavors” (Nebula award finalist), “The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” (Nebula Award finalist), and the most awarded story in the genre’s history, “The Paper Menagerie” (The only story to win the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards).

A must-have for every science fiction and fantasy fan, this beautiful book is an anthology to savor


The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is full of some of Liu’s greatest hits and underrated faves. You know those stories that mean so much to you, but haven’t found as much of a home? Even in the prologue, there’s something gorgeous about the prose. The way it can encapsulate and treat this sense of loneliness and wonder. Suffice it to say, from the beginning I was entranced. And this sense of wonder only continued as I read.

Liu’s anthology presents stories that are fragments of a moment. There is such a wealth of unique and innovative world building. While reading The Paper Menagerie I was constantly stunned. These snippets just make you want to know more about them. These stories examines how we only see what we want to and end up missing out. They confront issues of agency, surveillance, and privacy. A Pandora’s box we can’t shut again.

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Of feeling like an outsider. Being shocked at the cruelty of other humans. And Liu doesn’t shy away from introducing a hidden layer to each story. All the ways this anthology celebrates the power of words and stories. Some stories were harder for me to get through than others, but overall it’s a fantastic collection that only piques my interest in his longer form work. Find The Paper Menagier and Other Stories on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


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