Short Fiction Friday

short fiction friday 23

 

I’m bringing back Short Fiction Friday after being inspired by Acquadimore’s short fiction posts. This feature is essentially me featuring at least three short stories that I’ve read and enjoyed recently. I’m doing this in an effort to read more short fiction, as I certainly don’t read enough of it.divider

deaddjinn_full_xlA Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djeli Clark (Tor, May 2016): STEAMPUNK CAIRO. STEAMPUNK CAIRO. STEAMPUNK CAIRO WITH HINTS OF COSMIC HORROR. This is a short story set in an alternative 1912 Egypt, where supernatural creatures have infiltrated the world. The main character, Fatma, is a suit-wearing investigator with the Egyptian Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities. As she attempts to solve the murder of a dead djinn – an Old One, at that – she realizes that something very nefarious is going on. This was AWESOME; one of the best short stories I’ve ever read. Incredibly fun, incredibly atmospheric, and so well-versed in the nuances of Egyptian culture that I had to look up whether the author was actually Egyptian (he’s not). This is everything I’ve ever wanted from a short story and I will definitely be picking up the author’s novella set in this world!


Apex-Magazine-KindleBargains by the Slant Light by Cassandra Khaw (Apex, October 2018): Very short and very creepy. It features exactly the type of twisted interaction I enjoy. In this case, a girl has made a deal with a devil, and he tears apart nightly. This is the kind of story that I feel is too short; it’s a microcosm of an interaction. I want more, much more; I want to see the bargain being made and all the reasons behind it. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this snapshot.


intothegray_fullInto the Gray by Margaret Killjoy (Tor, April 2018): This was an enjoyable and straightforward story about a trans woman who leads men to their death-by-mermaid, and this mermaid also happens to be the woman’s lover. I enjoyed the morbid tone of this story and appreciated the monster lover trope between two women. I also liked that this was a relatively straightforward story; nothing mysterious or cerebral about it.

Short Story Friday

SSF

In an effort to improve my writing I try to read as many short stories as I can. I’m…rather picky when it comes to short stories, much pickier than when it comes to novels (which is rather contrary, but what can I say), so it’s not often that I find a short story that truly speaks to me. I’ve realized that I would like to keep track of those stories that touch me or teach me something, and so that birthed a new idea: Short Story Friday.

On certain Fridays, I will share with you three short stories I have read that engaged me in some way. This will also be a great way for me to encourage myself to read more short stories! I definitely don’t read enough of them.

This Friday it’s gonna be four short stories, because I went on a bit of  a J.Y. Yang binge! I have never read their work before but I really like their style and creative ideas! So here we go:

SeptOct16_Issue12LARGE-340x510Not a Miracle But A Marvel by Tim Pratt (Uncanny, September/October 2016): This is a really weird and super fun portal fantasy! I so rarely see portal fantasies in short fiction but I always enjoy them.  This one is happy, wholesome, and hilarious with a light touch of creepy, featuring two poly couples who wander into a fairy ring.  It’s got memorable characters and it’s just so much damn fun.


th_a0580aaeccec739569f2502c0aa86498_lightspeed_68_january_2016Secondhand Bodies by J.Y. Yang (Lightspeed, January 2016): I can’t remember the last time I loved a short story this much.  In near-future Singapore, it is possible to surgically switch bodies. The protagonist, Agatha, decides to exchange her body with another woman’s so she can be beautiful. She ends up falling for this woman instead, but this is no love story – Agatha is a detestable, selfish person.  This story examines fat-shaming, racism, and classism in Singapore through the lens of a deeply unlikable protagonist.


th_a0580aaeccec739569f2502c0aa86498_lightspeed_73_june_2016Four and Twenty Blackbirds by J.Y. Yang (Lightspeed, June 2016): This story is a little less clear cut than the aforementioned two.  It seems to be set in the near-future, in a world that is struggling with an alien virus that targets pregnant women, turning their babies into corvids.  I think.  The protagonist is pregnant with a healthy baby, but she doesn’t seem particularly happy about it, or the state of the world.  I enjoyed this idea! Pregnancy already freaks me out, so adding anything weird to it makes for delectably creepy reads.


27246515Temporary Saints by J.Y. Yang (Fireside Fiction, October 2015): This is short short fiction, so unfortunately there wasn’t too much to read into here, and what a shame! I really love the idea featured in this story, of people, particularly children, turning into saints. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill sainthood, though – the saints in this story gain powers but become horribly deformed, growing wings or scales and then dying.  It’s a really great idea and I’d love to see it expanded.

Short Story Friday

short story friday

In my attempt to become a writer, I’ve taken to writing short stories.  One of them was recently published.  In an effort to improve my craft, I try to read as many short stories as I can.  I’m…rather picky when it comes to short stories, much pickier than when it comes to novels (which is rather contrary, but what can I say), so it’s not often that I find a short story that truly speaks to me.  I’ve realized that I would like to keep track of those stories that touch me or teach me something, and so that birthed a new idea: Short Story Friday.

On certain Fridays, I will share with you three short stories I have read that engaged me in some way.  This will also be a great way for me to encourage myself to read more short stories! I definitely don’t read enough.  And so, without further ado, I present my choices for this Friday:

TheDarkJuly2016-220x340Postcards from Natalie by Carrie Laban (The Dark, July 2016): I’m not too sure I entirely “got” this story (I mean, I think I did, but I’m not sure) because it’s one of  those that ends with a twisty bang, but a very subtle twisty bang. It doesn’t tell you outright what’s going on, but if what I think happened happened, then it’s a pretty cool story! Plus, it got me hooked from the start and built up the suspense so well I couldn’t stop reading, which for me is a difficult thing with short stories.


35712604Queen Aster Who Dances by Tina Connolly (Fireside Fiction, July 2017): Can you tell just from the title how cool this short little piece is? It’s a high fantasy and it’s written kind of like a soliloquy.  It’s about royalty and power and sacrifice and sisterly bonds.  It gives you delicious hints of a much broader, richer world that I would love to read more about.  I’m definitely going to check out this author’s novels!


51moM5lrNdLDon’t Turn On The Lights by Cassandra Khaw (Nightmare Magazine, October 2017): This is a delightfully creepy little tale – or is it several tales? Khaw begins by informing you that stories are mongrels, that many different versions of tales will always exists, and then proceeds to tell the same story several different ways.  Each version is creepier than the last.  The line “the air was the stink of piss and flayed meat” will haunt my nightmares for a very long time.

 

Short Story Friday

In my attempt to become a writer, I’ve taken to writing short stories.  One of them was recently published.  In an effort to improve my craft, I try to read as many short stories as I can.  I’m…rather picky when it comes to short stories, much pickier than when it comes to novels (which is rather contrary, but what can I say), so it’s not often that I find a short story that truly speaks to me.  I’ve realized that I would like to keep track of those stories that touch me or teach me something, and so that birthed a new idea: Short Story Friday.

On certain Fridays, I will share with you three short stories I have read that engaged me in some way.  This will also be a great way for me to encourage myself to read more short stories! I definitely don’t read enough.  And so, without further ado, I present my choices for this Friday:

ladys-maid-v2A Lady’s Maid by Sarah Gailey (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, May 2017): Described as a “Victorian comedy of manners” featuring androids, this darkly comedic story juxtaposes Victorian social customs with futuristic technology.  It’s an intriguing mix that leads to some rather amusing shenanigans culminating in the ultimate tragicomedy.  Featuring the perspectives of several intriguing characters, it concludes with a satisfying and unexpected new beginning.


cw_77_350The Wanderers by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Clarkesworld, February 2013): This story throws you right into the action with an incredibly disturbing first paragraph from the perspective of sadistic aliens hoping to colonize Earth.  They’ve spent years studying humans and believe we worship violence, so they believe they will be appreciated as our violent overlords.  However, when they actually arrive on Earth, they discover something unexpected.  Though the story never makes very clear what has actually happened on Earth, its subtle clues are chilling.


51Es-RHxKqLThe Narrow Escape of Zipper-Girl by Adam-Troy Castro (Nightmare, June 2017): In this story, a very disturbed narrator becomes fascinated with a girl who had a body-mod zipper on her neck.  He chronicles his relationship with this woman he calls only “Zipper-Girl,” describing his increasing obsession with her zipper and its horrific potential.  We are in his head for the entire story, and he is one fucked up dude, which makes for one hell of a  creepy read.

Short Story Friday

In my attempt to become a writer, I’ve taken to writing short stories.  One of them was published this month.  In an effort to improve my craft, I try to read as many short stories as I can.  I’m…rather picky when it comes to short stories, much pickier than when it comes to novels (which is rather contrary, but what can I say), so it’s not often that I find a short story that truly speaks to me.  I’ve realized that I would like to keep track of those stories that touch me or teach me something, and so that birthed a new idea: Short Story Friday.

On certain Fridays, I will share with you three short stories I have read that engaged me in some way.  This will also be a great way for me to encourage myself to read more short stories! I definitely don’t read enough.  And so, without further ado, I present my choices for this Friday:

51Gw-H6abtLSuddenwall by Sara Saab (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, March 2017): Suddenwall is exactly the high fantasy I like to read.  It chronicles a long war and examines the effects of genocide on the victims and perpetrators, many of whom now live in the sentient city of Vannat.  Somehow, Vannat knows when you’ve done wrong, and when it does, it entraps you within a concrete wall until you leave.  In this short story, Saab introduces a colorful, rich world with intriguing power structures.


Shimmer-21-CoverAnna Saves Them All by Seth Dickinson (Shimmer, September 2014): Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with Dickinson’s debut novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant.  In this short story, Dickinson demonstrates that he is all about the Sophie’s Choice.  A survivor of violence in Kurdistan, the protagonist Anna tries to negotiate with the strange alien aboard her ship.  Nobody on the crew but Anna can stand to talk to it.  The tension builds rapidly in this story, culminating in Anna making a horrific final decision.

 


TheDarkIssue18-220x340And In Our Daughters, We Find a Voice by Cassandra Khaw (The Dark, November 2016): Khaw’s story is a dark, bloody retelling of The Little Mermaid.  It begins with the Prince cooking and devouring the mermaid’s little sisters, babies who had been too young to resemble humans, unlike her.  The Prince “saved” our protagonist, took her into his home, and seeks to have children with her.  This story echoes with the sinister throughout, a deliciously chilling read that culminates in a bloody twist.