Saturday, July 27, 2013

Short Fiction Round-Up: Whenever Edition

It's been a long time since I did this, but that's not for lack of good short stories, it's because I suck at updating my blog. So here's some stories I read recently and liked, maybe you will too, you know the drill.

Division of Labor by Benjamin Roy Lambert (Lightspeed): If you don't use it, you lose it, literally. In a world where overspecialization leads to a society of grotesqueries, our protagonist tries to keep as much of his true self as he can. Resist psychic death!

On Murder Island by Matt Williamson (Nightmare): You know how whenever people talk about prisons there's always some libertarian yahoo who says we should just put all the murderers on an island and let them sort each other out? That's what happens in "On Murder Island," and Williamson perfectly captures the psyche of a man born on the island, who grew up under relentless, routine violence. Also check out Williamson's short story "Sacrament" in the Brave New Worlds anthology, it's the first thing I read by him and it blew me the hell away.

You Are Watching by Ann Sterzinger (The Big Click): Dystopic SF story? Crime story? Does it matter? This story ruled. When all the world's a prison, you can always think back to the simple days of the twentieth century, where we only watched one television at a time. So help me job.

The Pelican Bar by Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse Three, classic story): I was watching a panel at Readercon about genre definitions and someone brought up this story as an example of what you might call "slipstream" (it probably has another name by now, you know how it is). I was a little bored by the panel, and this story sounded interesting, so I looked it up on my phone and read it right there, because I'm the kind of asshole I am. What makes this story genius to me is the way it changes depending on whether or not you accept it as a science fiction story. It's a kind of technique I've been exploring in my own writing (P.S. sign up for Daily Science Fiction now to read my upcoming story! /self-promotion), and this story, with its overriding sense of strangeness, is just perfect slipstream/whatever. So yeah, reading all the Fowler now.

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