It’s been a bit since my last updated. How absolutely terrible of me.
I have a number of draft blogs I’m working on — but for now, here’s some of my favorite short stories I’ve read since my last update:
Pack Dynamics, by Stephanie Burgis, published by (the brand new!) Persistent Visions. This is a werewolf story unlike any I’ve read before — completely subverting the traditional tropes of the genre, and tying it into real world family dynamics that I think a number of people could identify with. Really loved this one.
Between Dragons and Their Wrath, by An Owomoyela and Rachel Swirsky, published in Clarkesworld, Issue 113. This was a stunningly beautiful story. The prose is gorgeous and perfect, a simple, elegant and poetic style. It’s very much the story about refugees, surviving a war-torn land, but the WMDs were dragons. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a story where the aftereffects felt so real, even if it was a fantasy setting. This is some of the best speculative fiction fantasy that I’ve read.
Memory and Iron, by Kelly Sandoval, published by Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. This was a beautiful, bittersweet modern faerie story. I’m not going to describe it much because it’s short, but it’s wonderful.
Sisters, by Bonnie-Joe Stufflebeam, reprint published by Grendelsong, originally published by SCHEHEREZADE’S BEQUEST. I’ve read a few of Stufflebeam’s stories now and each one has really left an impression on me. She writes incredibly lyrical, deep stuff. This one’s a retelling/re-imagining of The Little Mermaid, exploring love and sacrifice through wishes.
There’s something out there that I wrote and you can buy. That’s… like… kind of exciting, and I figured I should provide a link.
The details: About a year ago, I joined a writing group near where I live. Every few years, the writing group puts together a work of our short stories. With the writing group being based in Salem, Massachusetts, a number of our writers enjoy writing ghost stories — and, thus, Ghost Writers Volume 2, was born.
My story is called “The Long Arm of Satan” and closes out the book. It’s about a guy in hell who’s trying to escape. I hope people will find it both hellish and literary.
I hope you’ll agree that there’s a number of great stories in the collection. You can buy it in print or as an ebook from Amazon, and I do believe it’s available via Kindle’s lending library program for people with Prime.
“The Singing Tree” by Rati Mehrotra. Urban Fantasy Magazine. This is an absolutely gorgeous story, almost lyrical at points and yet an easy read. I really love the voice of the protagonist. She felt so real, as did her entire family. Definitely check it out.
“Getting Archaeology Right in Fantasy Fiction” by Alter S Reiss. TOR.com. Reiss’s article on using archaeology in fantasy is a fantastic tool and I almost think much of it could be applied to a lot of sci fi, as well. He offers great tips on both what writers should concern themselves with, as well as what isn’t really a big deal. As a bonus, it was a very enjoyable read.
In an amazing dose of “I can’t believe no one’s ever thought of this before,” some of Edgar Allen Poe’s best stories have been professionally animated with top voice talent. Check out the trailer i09 posted. The movie, if we can call it that, is out this fall, including the DVD/digital release. Flexing my descriptive writing muscles and tapping into my inner geek, I’m super-duper excited.
Child, Funeral, Thief, Death by Tade Thompson. Apex Magazine. I feel like I visited just visited Nigeria and bore witness to this story. The writing is gorgeous, the story builds quite nicely and I loved that Thompson was able to build an entire mythos here, and wasn’t afraid to go where he went with the ending. Loved it.
20/20 by Arie Coleman. Strange Horizons. I really enjoyed the slipstream elements of the story — it’s so hard to pull off well, and Coleman succeeds here. Plus, as someone who’s known my share of nurses, I deeply appreciated just how real the writer made life working at a hospital out to be. Also, as a bonus, the wonderful Anaea Lay does a reading of it for the Strange Horizons podcast.
The Circle of Life by Aline Carriere. Daily Science Fiction. I love speculative fiction that tackles overpopulation, and this one succeeds in a very short word count. Some vague-so-as-to-avoid-spoilers food for thought: I can’t decide if I think the narrator is creepy as in a sociopath creepy, or creepy, but in her own empathetic and caring way. That said, I’m leaning toward the former. I don’t think the narrator’s decision is really about the person who she thinks it is. That’s just my 2 cents.
Rain Like Diamonds by Wendy Nikel. Daily Science Fiction. A really nice spin on a story about a queen and a dragon, with a really strong ending. Loved Nikel’s descriptions. I also really enjoy Daily Science Fiction’s propensity to include a brief statement about what inspired the author to create the story. DSF should be required reading for aspiring authors.
Short Story Elements don’t have to be Confusing, a blog post from Kat Hutson. Here’s some good tips on writing clear stories. I liked these. It offers a great approach for writers to take on writing high quality stories — though I think stories can work without all these elements, if writers are prepared for them to be a bit more niche.
Full Circle by JT Gill. Every Day Fiction. Strong writing. I really liked how he painted society discovering clear evidence of an alien vessel. It was in an entirely mundane way — there were water cooler conversations, cognitive dissonance in the face of clear evidence, and a guy worrying more about his girlfriend than whether there’s an imminent invasion coming. You get the sense that if the story continued for a few more days, aliens would become old news fast and people would be on to the next story that dominates the headlines. Ah, 24 hour news cycles.
io9 thinks Killjoys is an okay B-TV show that suffers from an overstuffed plot. I don’t necessarily disagree with the criticism that Killjoys unloaded a lot (maybe too much), especially in its early episodes, but it was never a huge issue for me — it never distracted me from the show. The only real problem with Killjoys is that SyFy didn’t know what it had. It’s an amazing, fun show — but it’s a B-TV show that needed an A-TV budget. Imagine Killjoys with Firefly’s or BSG’s far better production values and more intricate sets, and maybe a slightly more fleshed out cast. I think it would have easily stacked up with those shows.
Sunil Patel, an author who’s sold 9 short stories since he starting submitting stories two years ago, wrote a couple great posts on A Dribble of Ink about what he learned to help him break through the submission process.
I thought it was filled with great advice — so I wanted to share it.