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Let All the Children Boogie

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From the Nebula-Award-winning author of The Art of Starving comes Sam J. Miller's sci-fi time traveling tale, "Let All the Chlidren Boogie," a Tor.com Original As the Cold War stalls and the threat of nuclear warfare dominates the news, small-town misfits Laurie and Fell bond over a shared love of music and the mystery of the erratic radio messages that hint at the existenc From the Nebula-Award-winning author of The Art of Starving comes Sam J. Miller's sci-fi time traveling tale, "Let All the Chlidren Boogie," a Tor.com Original As the Cold War stalls and the threat of nuclear warfare dominates the news, small-town misfits Laurie and Fell bond over a shared love of music and the mystery of the erratic radio messages that hint at the existence of a future worth reaching out for. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


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From the Nebula-Award-winning author of The Art of Starving comes Sam J. Miller's sci-fi time traveling tale, "Let All the Chlidren Boogie," a Tor.com Original As the Cold War stalls and the threat of nuclear warfare dominates the news, small-town misfits Laurie and Fell bond over a shared love of music and the mystery of the erratic radio messages that hint at the existenc From the Nebula-Award-winning author of The Art of Starving comes Sam J. Miller's sci-fi time traveling tale, "Let All the Chlidren Boogie," a Tor.com Original As the Cold War stalls and the threat of nuclear warfare dominates the news, small-town misfits Laurie and Fell bond over a shared love of music and the mystery of the erratic radio messages that hint at the existence of a future worth reaching out for. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

30 review for Let All the Children Boogie

  1. 4 out of 5

    karen

    But I was done letting wishing I was better stop me from being what I was. i love sam J. miller and i love a story full of bowie and iggy pop (hahah i typed iggy poo) and the pixies, but instalove is always boring, lauren doesn't really have any depth-of-character, and woke gender politics aside, as much as it may be theoretically true that gender was just a set of clothes we put on when we went out into the world, biological genitals and teen pregnancy are still real and i don't think it's unevo But I was done letting wishing I was better stop me from being what I was. i love sam J. miller and i love a story full of bowie and iggy pop (hahah i typed iggy poo) and the pixies, but instalove is always boring, lauren doesn't really have any depth-of-character, and woke gender politics aside, as much as it may be theoretically true that gender was just a set of clothes we put on when we went out into the world, biological genitals and teen pregnancy are still real and i don't think it's unevolved for the mother of a teenage girl to exert a little parental responsibility when it comes to the specifics of a slumber party occurring under their own roof with some stranger their daughter just picked up at a thrift store. additionally, gender aside, we are all incredibly vulnerable when we're asleep, so letting some stranger danger into your home is risky, no matter how insta- is your child's love. while i didn't love the story, or feel it ultimately delivered on its premise, it reads like a good pitch for a YA novel and would probably work better if it were tweaked into a longer and more satisfying piece; some sort of contemporary spin on Pump Up the Volume with SF elements. read it for yourself here: https://www.tor.com/2021/01/06/let-al... come to my blog!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mitticus

    short story. instead of 90s feels like the 70s. two 16 years old kids connected by the music on the radio hear a ... unknown transmission and speculate about it. relashionship, fear , gender, and poignancy, kind a stilted messy too. Q: At school the next day, alone with the computer, I saw why Fell loved machines so much. Not because they were simple, but because the rules were clear. And when something went wrong, there was a way to fix it. did not reach me (despite all the mentions of Bowie)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elena Linville

    I'm hit or miss with Tor's short stories. I find that a lot of them don't have much substance, or don't bother developing the ideas they hint at. This is kinda the case here as well. The story itself isn't so much about the mysterious voice on the radio that could be a Russian spy or a spaceman, or a time traveler. It's about two lonely kids who don't fit the mold that world and that ear is trying to shove them into, and as such, the story is beautifully raw and heartfelt. My problem though - it I'm hit or miss with Tor's short stories. I find that a lot of them don't have much substance, or don't bother developing the ideas they hint at. This is kinda the case here as well. The story itself isn't so much about the mysterious voice on the radio that could be a Russian spy or a spaceman, or a time traveler. It's about two lonely kids who don't fit the mold that world and that ear is trying to shove them into, and as such, the story is beautifully raw and heartfelt. My problem though - it's not developed enough. It's a hint, a prologue that becomes a sudden and abrupt epilogue. But it is, definitely, one of the better short stories I read on the Tor.com site so far, so 3.5 stars rounding up for heart.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    Five years since he left us; Earth is really dying, and boogieing is more forbidden than ever to the children, as indeed to everyone else. Curiously, though, this isn't set now, or 2016, fifty years ago, or another five years on, but in 1991 - a year when contemporary Bowie was pretty much inert. As was the fear of nuclear Armageddon, from my own recollection, though for the narrator here it still looms large. But then the story is dedicated to David Mitchell, and I'm presuming not the good one, Five years since he left us; Earth is really dying, and boogieing is more forbidden than ever to the children, as indeed to everyone else. Curiously, though, this isn't set now, or 2016, fifty years ago, or another five years on, but in 1991 - a year when contemporary Bowie was pretty much inert. As was the fear of nuclear Armageddon, from my own recollection, though for the narrator here it still looms large. But then the story is dedicated to David Mitchell, and I'm presuming not the good one, as well as David Bowie, so presumably that explains any infelicities. Like the one which bugged me most, where a small-town American kid in the early nineties suddenly attains an epiphanic grasp of the modern understanding of non-binary identity and the power politics of deliberate misgendering. Yes, a kid loving Bowie and longing for something more would have known there was something beyond just boys and girls, but to have our current manifestation emerge fully formed like this feels clunkingly anachronistic. Still, despite such flies in the ointment it's a poignant read, a reminder of a time when the planet could still have been saved, if people had actually given a toss, but when it was a genuine fear that you might hear a song by chance on the radio, love it, but then never hear it again. And even more tantalising, a voice on the radio which wants to make sure they end up with the right future. Ah, if only, eh?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nadine Jones

    You'll always hook me with a Bowie lyric as title, and this short got me even more excited by bringing Iggy Pop into the fold. Radio was where we met. Our bodies first occupied the same space on a Friday afternoon, but our minds had already connected Thursday night. Coming up on twelve o’clock, awake when we shouldn’t be, both of us in our separate narrow beds, miles and miles apart, tuning in to Ms. Jackson’s Graveyard Shift, spirits linked up in the gruff cigarette-damaged sound of her voic You'll always hook me with a Bowie lyric as title, and this short got me even more excited by bringing Iggy Pop into the fold. Radio was where we met. Our bodies first occupied the same space on a Friday afternoon, but our minds had already connected Thursday night. Coming up on twelve o’clock, awake when we shouldn’t be, both of us in our separate narrow beds, miles and miles apart, tuning in to Ms. Jackson’s Graveyard Shift, spirits linked up in the gruff cigarette-damaged sound of her voice. She’d played “The Passenger,” by Iggy Pop. I’d never heard it before, and it changed my life. Understand: there was no internet then. No way to look up the lyrics online. No way to snap my fingers and find the song on YouTube or iTunes. I was crying by the time it was over, knowing it might be months or years before I found it again. Maybe I never would. Strawberries, Hudson’s only record store, almost certainly wouldn’t have it. Those four guitar chords were seared indelibly into my mind, the lonesome sound of Iggy’s voice certain to linger there for as long as I lived, but the song itself was already out of my reach as it faded down to nothing. Unfortunately, this story didn't live up to my expectations. It flared brightly, wandered pointlessly, and then fizzled out. Read it for yourself here: https://www.tor.com/2021/01/06/let-al...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Crunden

    Wow.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kat, short for Clara

    Felt fitting to read this today (8th January). I think I'm going to have to find some way to pop this line into my pocket so I can carry it around with me: I saw that gender was just a set of clothes we put on when we went out into the world. Because, oof, did I feel it down to the marrow. Just really, really beautiful. With a final paragraph that is punch-you-in-the-heart lovely. I need to go get a hug, have a little cry, and listen to some David Bowie. Felt fitting to read this today (8th January). I think I'm going to have to find some way to pop this line into my pocket so I can carry it around with me: I saw that gender was just a set of clothes we put on when we went out into the world. Because, oof, did I feel it down to the marrow. Just really, really beautiful. With a final paragraph that is punch-you-in-the-heart lovely. I need to go get a hug, have a little cry, and listen to some David Bowie.

  8. 5 out of 5

    SOUP CHAMP

    I don't have anything stupid and goofy to say. This was just beautiful. Gonna go listen to Bowie and cry now byeeeeeee I don't have anything stupid and goofy to say. This was just beautiful. Gonna go listen to Bowie and cry now byeeeeeee

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

    I wondered how many times I’d been touched by Fell, listening late at night, trembling at the songs they requested. This story gave me just enough of a glimpse into itself to reel me in completely, fall in love with Laurie and Fell and Laurie + Fell, and all the ideas of the kind of world they're heading to + how they get there. From their first interaction with each other and then the immediate follow-up via a radio show, the relationship between these two is so stirring. And the meeting through I wondered how many times I’d been touched by Fell, listening late at night, trembling at the songs they requested. This story gave me just enough of a glimpse into itself to reel me in completely, fall in love with Laurie and Fell and Laurie + Fell, and all the ideas of the kind of world they're heading to + how they get there. From their first interaction with each other and then the immediate follow-up via a radio show, the relationship between these two is so stirring. And the meeting through music, not just for the first time before physically meeting, but then each time after that, when the musical notes from one person feel like the caresses from another... incredibly beautiful. Everything here falls somewhere between being hinted at and being fleshed out completely, which is my personal favorite area for short fiction. If you're the kind of person who needs more, you may not love it. But if you're the kind of person who wants inspiration with a little substance backing it, who can continue writing with the author, and fill in missing words with your own heart's suggestions, you'll probably love this as much as I did. Read here: https://www.tor.com/2021/01/06/let-al...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Badseedgirl

    I find reading stories with gender fluidity to be very challenging. Sigh, I guess I'm getting old. This story was dark, and sad, and I felt for both these young people. This reminded me very much of the "It Gets Better" campaign. I find reading stories with gender fluidity to be very challenging. Sigh, I guess I'm getting old. This story was dark, and sad, and I felt for both these young people. This reminded me very much of the "It Gets Better" campaign.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katarina Norrgård

    I am overcome with emotion after reading this gem of a story. Best read this year... possibly counting last year as well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This was a really cute and thought-provoking short SciFi story. At first I didn't understand how all the threads would come together at the end, but they did! This was a really cute and thought-provoking short SciFi story. At first I didn't understand how all the threads would come together at the end, but they did!

  13. 5 out of 5

    BookChampions

    The title is of course a reference to the final lyrics of David Bowie's "Starman," and it's a phrase that may become my new anthem. Reminiscent of Amal El-Mohtar's "Pockets," Miller tells the story of two oddball youth who form a bond while teaming up to discover the source of a message being sent across the airwaves of Ms. Jackson's Graveyard Shift radio program. It's a YA novel in a perfect miniature version—30 pages with a stunning balm of a last paragraph. (I wish I could quote the whole thin The title is of course a reference to the final lyrics of David Bowie's "Starman," and it's a phrase that may become my new anthem. Reminiscent of Amal El-Mohtar's "Pockets," Miller tells the story of two oddball youth who form a bond while teaming up to discover the source of a message being sent across the airwaves of Ms. Jackson's Graveyard Shift radio program. It's a YA novel in a perfect miniature version—30 pages with a stunning balm of a last paragraph. (I wish I could quote the whole thing for you—but I will refrain!) This is the story I needed today. Tender and optimistic, "Let All the Children Boogie" celebrates the power of music to connect us and that those connections, forged sometimes in the most unlikely of places (even across zoom conversations or Instagram DMs!), will be the thing that saves our race from destruction. I love love love this story and its sweet illustration too. Read it!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    "Everything I did was a long and agonizing decision, and every human on the planet terrified me" Oof that little line didn't need to hit so hard. Damn. Look I read this one on Bowie's birthday whilst listening to his Glastonbury set which probably influenced my time with it quite a bit. Relationship stuff really isn't my thing when it comes to reading but I still enjoyed Let All The Children Boogie. The bonding over music between the two characters is done well and the Sci-fi mystery element throw "Everything I did was a long and agonizing decision, and every human on the planet terrified me" Oof that little line didn't need to hit so hard. Damn. Look I read this one on Bowie's birthday whilst listening to his Glastonbury set which probably influenced my time with it quite a bit. Relationship stuff really isn't my thing when it comes to reading but I still enjoyed Let All The Children Boogie. The bonding over music between the two characters is done well and the Sci-fi mystery element thrown in is initially intriguing, though it could probably have done with the story being a novella rather than a short story to properly flesh it out and pace the ending better. It's an enjoyable read even if it is a bit overly optimistic and hopeful for a grumpy cynic like me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    MollyK

    Oh this. This. This is what I needed to start off 2021. After the hell of 2020. After trump. After an attempted coup on democracy. "But we could survive it. Overcome it. Surmount the limits of our flesh and our mortality and our separateness ... to tell the beautiful damaged kids we had been that the future would be as good as they had the courage to be." I have a feeling I'll be rereading this piece again and again. found here https://www.tor.com/2021/01/06/let-al... Oh this. This. This is what I needed to start off 2021. After the hell of 2020. After trump. After an attempted coup on democracy. "But we could survive it. Overcome it. Surmount the limits of our flesh and our mortality and our separateness ... to tell the beautiful damaged kids we had been that the future would be as good as they had the courage to be." I have a feeling I'll be rereading this piece again and again. found here https://www.tor.com/2021/01/06/let-al...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Billy

    A lovely short story about two misfits, the music that brings them together, and the quest to find the source of a mysterious radio signal. My one sort-of gripe is that while the story takes place in 1991, a lot of the music references and story elements make it feel like it could be happening anywhere from the '70s onward, and setting the story further back might have made a bigger impression. But I still enjoyed reading it, as you can tell from my rating. A lovely short story about two misfits, the music that brings them together, and the quest to find the source of a mysterious radio signal. My one sort-of gripe is that while the story takes place in 1991, a lot of the music references and story elements make it feel like it could be happening anywhere from the '70s onward, and setting the story further back might have made a bigger impression. But I still enjoyed reading it, as you can tell from my rating.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Katz

    An absolutely perfect and inherently, utterly queer story about music and technology and identity and that sense of things not being perfect now, but of the future trying to reach back and offer you a hand to what you want it to be, a future where you can be you exactly how you are. Beautiful. I loved it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    Wow, what a story. The start of Tor’s January Short Story collection was nothing I was expecting. A complete blind read (no prior knowledge of book or author, a rarity for me) that really shined. The author built a compelling story, characters and plot that, while short felt longer than it was. A real treat.

  19. 4 out of 5

    The Bennyjblanco

    This was obviously a quick read, and to be very honest it’s worth the price that I got it for and that was $.99. I loved the music behind the story, but I guess I truly just didn’t get the story, like at all.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    Thanks for such a lovely read. Sure, it had some Stranger Things underpinnings, but I didn't enjoy it for the story. Laurie reminded me that there's something rather valuable to be found in moments that, even as you experience them, you know you will never reproduce. Thanks for such a lovely read. Sure, it had some Stranger Things underpinnings, but I didn't enjoy it for the story. Laurie reminded me that there's something rather valuable to be found in moments that, even as you experience them, you know you will never reproduce.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eli

    this is something special

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mimzy

    I enjoy the idea of the story, everything include radio, music, podcasts and stuff like this, has spark for me. My only problem is, that it was so short, but it was beautiful, so give it a try.

  23. 4 out of 5

    R

    I'm not crying/laughing, you are. I'm not crying/laughing, you are.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emory Black

    Two kids trying to find their place in the world and following a mysterious voice on the radio.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gurpreet Kaur

    Interesting short read about two lonely kids who think they doesn't fit in society and their imaginations. Interesting short read about two lonely kids who think they doesn't fit in society and their imaginations.

  26. 5 out of 5

    *JEN the booknerd*

    Loved this!!! Read it here: https://www.tor.com/2021/01/06/let-al... Loved this!!! Read it here: https://www.tor.com/2021/01/06/let-al...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    This Starman inspired short story is everything I need

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marita_z

    Nice one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jezier

    Wonderful.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A lovely story about struggling two kids who get a ray of hope from a mysterious radio broadcast.

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