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Name Like Ice Into My Heart - Not if You Were the Last Short Story on Earth
Name Like Ice Into My Heart
Interesting webzine Behind the Wainscot had a theme issue recently, with flash fiction pieces inspired by tarot cards. It was a fun idea, and collected some good authors. My favourite was Hal Duncan's The Fool.

From GUD Issue #3, I really enjoyed Nicole Kornher-Stace's Forgetting, the story of a skywriters's message that is misinterpreted by those who see it, according to the needs of their own lives. A simple, brief story, but beautifully written and touching.

From the anthology Clockwork Phoenix, there were two standouts, for me. Ekaterina Sedia's There is a Monster Under Helen's Bed is a moving and believable story of a Russian orphan, and her memories and struggles to acclimatise to life with her adopted family. Both the central characters are deftly portrayed, and the social background is convincing and poignant.

And Cat Sparks' Palisade is a gruesome and unpleasant story of planetary colonialism, mixing nineteenth century brutality and conquest with a science fiction background. It's done believably, and it's a nasty and effective piece.

From Postscripts #15 I particularly enjoyed Ian McDonald's [a ghost samba]. Set in his utterly captivating portrayal of Brazil, it is the story of a collector of musical rarities, and his encounter with quantum physics. There's so much to like about this story; the depth of the background of Brazil is impressive, the protagonist's musical obsessions are engaging and believably portrayed. And the ending is thought-provoking and clever. Impressive.

Another standout for me from PS publishing was Jeff Vandermeer's The Situation, available both as a chapbook novella and published free electronically at Wired magazine. It's a fantastical exploration of workplace bullying and cliques, both original in its detail and convincing in its applicability to contemporary workplaces. Like most of Vandermeer's work, it's both unpleasant and at the same time an utter pleasure to read, engaging and emotionally powerful. Highly recommended.

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