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The Fonz in People Aren't Jukeboxes - Not if You Were the Last Short Story on Earth — LiveJournal
lastshortstory
ex_benpayne119
The Fonz in People Aren't Jukeboxes
Okay, first up I'm gonna have to declare my bias regarding the stories for this week. These are both stories that were accepted by myself and Robert Hoge when we were co-editors of Aurealis. That said, I had no part in their final publication. So construe bias where you will.

Ben Peek's John Wayne, part of his dead Americans series of stories, places John Wayne and his friend Orson Welles in contemporary USA. Wayne is well-characterised, rather than being a two-dimensional target of satire, and we are shown both his flaws and his strengths as a man, resulting in some fascinating contradictions. In Wayne's paranoias and the subsequent violence, we are given a strong critique of racial politics in the US today (and by extension in our own country, too.) Peek's strength in this story is in the fact that he allows the story to move beyond its social critique and to create moments of genuine pathos as well, resulting in a deeper and more compelling vision of contemporary society.

Rjurik Davidson's Domine is one of my favourite stories of the year so far. A man is faced with the return of his father from space, now ten years younger than himself. It's not a new idea, by any means. But Davidson uses it to explore the figure of the estranged father, both in terms of the protagonist's relationship with his returned father, still the man he was when he left, and in terms of his relationship with his own son and ex-partner. There's a wonderful depth to the characterisation, here. Nobody in the story feels like a cardboard cut-out. Davidson's SF is subtle but pointed in its vision of a nearish future society, and the extension of our own society that it represents. The descriptions are vivid and evocative. Most of all, though, it is a story about people, and it is the realistic dialogue and the complex motivations of all the characters that makes the story so emotionally powerful. The best stories can make you forget the world you're reading about is created, and instead give the impression that you've just been granted a window on another world. This is one such story. Highly recommended.

Current Music: The Mission - God is a Bullet

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