Bouncing up and down this timeline across many stories in the collection, Liu explores with painstaking clarity, the reality of giving up one’s body, leaving a world behind, the mystery and thrill of a digital frontier and mindscape, and the heartache of leaving your known world behind ... This collection has something for everyone: science fiction, some fantasy, flashes of historical fiction, interlinking stories, a novel excerpt, and more. Liu truly is a writer with no limits, whose ability to craft a story that folds interesting characters with high-minded concepts with effortless worldbuilding, while commenting on the modern world around us at the same time is nothing short of magical. Like I said, there’s a reason he’d be on a list of authors that are masters of the form. Whether it’s one thousand words or ten thousand words, Ken Liu is a master at crafting short stories that pack a punch, and linger in your mind long after they’re over ... four hundred pages of effortlessly beautiful, haunting fiction, that will have you coming back for more.
In no sense do any of the stories here feel like leftovers from [Liu's] first collection, although a couple seem a bit fragmentary ... What most of the stories reveal, however, is what Liu seems to be thinking about the past few years ... the notion of the digital singularity ... what emerges as an abiding concern of his humanist side is even more interesting: the problems, pitfalls, and rewards of child-parent relationships ... Those same relationships often reveal a third theme: balancing dual identities ... Liu can write with the best of them ... Liu’s fantasies may be more freewheeling than his SF, but The Hidden Girl and Other Stories leaves us wanting a lot more of both.
There’s a stunning 250-page collection hidden within this 400-page book ... The title story belongs in a different collection altogether ... 'Dispatches From The Cradle: The Hermit—Forty-Eight Hours In The Sea Of Massachusetts,' a travelogue set in a future ravaged by climate change, at times resembles a Wikipedia summary more than a work of fiction ... Like a lot of genre fiction, most of Liu’s stories are puzzle boxes; you don’t get the full picture until the final page ... makes many of these stories emotionally poignant and powerful, but when read one after another after another, all of the dead children and traumatic flashbacks become exhausting. One starts to lose interest in opening more boxes.