Review of The Literomancer

Sometimes, Lilly, adults have to do things that they don’t want to do, because it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes we do things that seem wrong, but are really right.

I found a lot to admire in “The Literomancer,” by Ken Liu. There is a novel (to me, anyway) magical system, which grows out of the building blocks of words themselves. Words become the grounds of ambiguous meaning and interpretation in a rich and enjoyable portrayal of divination.

Ambiguity and interpretation play a major role in the larger events of the story. The setting is China, in the past, a time of intrigue and turbulence. Can simple friendship take root in such an environment? The answer depends on how you look at it, and what you think those words mean.

“The Literomancer” appeared in the September/October 2010 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction