September 28th, 2010

short stories

A Mixed Bag of the Fantastical and Strange

"Bloodlines," Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Fantasy - a passionate, slightly wicked tale of family, broken love, revenge and witchcraft. I loved that it was basically the story of the women of a family, and the combination of love, loyalty and being utter bitches to each other.

"Where Shadows Meet Light," Rachel Swirsky, Fantasy - I wasn't sure how to feel about this one.  I think it's just too damn soon to be telling ghost stories about Princess Diana.  But the story is smart and sensitive and really quite lovely.  Still.  Too soon.

"Abandonware," An Owomoyela, Fantasy - I was really gripped by this story of a boy who deals with his sister's death by booting up her antiquated old computer, and finding an obsolete computer program that may or may not be able to predict the future.  Ultimately I was disappointed in the ending of this piece, as I had been hoping for answers to the questions asked, but the build up was so excellent and the characterisation so spot on that I like it despite the letdown.

Alex Daly MacFarlane, "The City of Lobster, or, The Dancers on Anchorage St." Fantasy - a clever and strange story of the "weird tourism" subgenre which made very little sense but I still felt very drawn to.  Lobsters are AWESOME.

"Braiding the Ghosts," C.S.E. Cooney, Clockwork Phoenix - a dark, rich story of witchcraft and ghosts, and an evil grandmother.  The detail of this one was impressive, and I liked the YA protagonist very much.

"Surrogates," Cat Rambo, Clockwork Phoenix - a clever piece of surrealism about a marriage in a world where anything and everything is at your disposal.  The story seems a lot more whimsical than it actually is, and there's a nice thread of angst and quiet despair all the way through it.

"Dreadnought," Anna Tambour, Asimov's June - a very odd piece, as all Tambour's stories are!  This one asks why humans would want to leave their lives on Earth, and what it would take to make them leap aboard a spaceship to go elsewhere, and why it's important to eat your greens and listen to your mother.  There's a grotesquerie to this one, and I really didn't like (funnily enough) the demonising and mockery of the absent mother, or indeed any of the characters at all, but I've always enjoyed Tambour's twisted prose and this is a story that makes you think, even where it isn't overly likeable.