Cloud Atlas 07 - An Orison of Sonmi - 451
So for me this was the high point of Cloud Atlas, though Sloosha's Crossing is a close second. Even though the plot was nothing special, I thought everything worked in this story - the exotic world-building, the characters and their motivations, the horror and dystopia all were believable fictions to me. It was rich enough that I kept asking myself, "But what is over there just out of frame?" without feeling that anything was lacking - just like a real world where we just cannot describe everything. I'm currently working on a new setting with a local group, and am finding that we can just leave a lot of stuff vague until its needed. I was raised in RPGs where published settings were exhaustive, but have discovered that it is not really necessary as long as I have a clear idea of why the NPCs are doing things. The other members of the group may disagree with me of course.
Anyway, I found the detail provided here was just like that, e.g. the university was like a university, but different in ways that increased my interest as a reader. And the vocabulary was at the right level of oddness.
This was also the story that I actually noticed similarities with the Luisa Rey Mystery., e.g. the car trips. I suddenly realised there was a similar flight to safety in Timothy Cavendish, which I hadn't connected. For me this further undermined the whole reincarnation reading - I started to notice that themes and motifs were what was keeping the stories together.
Have other things to say, but would like to hear from the rest of you ...