Some reviews of "One Sister, Two Sisters, Three"


There has been a range of commentary on my latest story, which you can read here or listen to here.   Here are a few reactions.  

Locus, December 2016, Rich Horton’s review.

James Patrick Kelly in "One Sister, Two Sisters, Three" tells of a planet colonized by a religious group and two sisters growing up there, resistant to the wider galactic technology (including “replication” of people’s minds as they grow old or sick and uploading them to new bodies).  The narrator, Jix, is somewhat jealous of her beautiful sister Zana, and both miss their mother, who chose replication when she got very sick to their father’s disgust.  When an upsider tourist becomes interested in Zana, the jealousy increases and result is a tangle of not-quite tragedy.  

SF Revu

The second story is "One Sister, Two Sisters, Three" by James Patrick Kelly. -+- Our narrator s Jix, a young woman who lives on a planet her people call Sanctuary. Originally she lived with her father and mother, and sister, Zana. They worship a goddess named Moya and revere the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Sequence. But when their mother gets sick, she has herself replicated into a new body, and their father considers her dead. Quin, a stranger from the Thousand Worlds comes into their lives and the sisters begin to draw apart. The story is beautifully told and bittersweet, a joy to read.

Quick Sip Reviews

This is a story that speaks to me of religion and outsiders and sisters. Of family and taboo and scale. The story takes pace on a world where two sisters, Zana and Jix, live in a sort of religious community. One that worships a goddess of math and doesn't believe in being replicated, which can be used to extend life and transfer minds of the dying or newly dead into a new body. It's a story about the life there, which is not small or unimportant, but which can seem that way when placed next to interstellar travel and ancient alien civilizations and a humanity that has stretched out among the stars. The story delves into the relationship of the sisters, twins who are in some ways night and day of one another but still close because of their shared space, because they need each other in the space left when their mother leaves to be replicated because of a degenerative condition. And I like the way their relationship is rendered, not quite friends but also more than friends. Sisters, in as complicated a manner as that is, and how that relationship changes with the introduction of an outsider, a man who is obviously interested in Zana. And everything swirls together, religion and challenging what is forbidden and wanting to act but also being constrained and it's a story with heavy notes of hopes and reaching, of showing that sometimes modern detachment can be just as religious as theist institutions. It's also a rather shocking story at times, showing how harmful it can be for people to come in from outside a belief structure acting like it's primitive, like it's stupid. How insidious that can be and how badly that can go. It's a complex and difficult story and well worth checking out!

Tangent Online

I was intrigued at first by this story. Set on Earth, long after humanity has moved on to the reaches of space, Earth has become an ancient Holy site, worshipping the sacred geometry. Humanity has long moved on scientifically, and has not only developed the technology for what amounts to immortality, but also time travel. References to the “Exotics” and the “Thousand Worlds” indicated many worlds and peoples beyond our own, and the possibilities seemed endless. When the plot revealed a sisterly quarrel fueled by jealousy and envy, I was disappointed a bit. Don’t make any mistake, this story is unrushed, well-written, and meticulously detailed. It’s a beautiful picture of the familial relationship, through tragedy and loss, and transcending both time and death. There are elements of redemption, forgiveness, and remorse. My objection here is that the full potential of this story was missed. It’s still well worth reading, for the journey it portrays, if nothing else.