The stories that spoke to me last month involved regret and longing, exploring that uneasy intersection between having too little and wanting too much. In particular, Lavie Tidhar’s piece had this really cool aspect of looking at realistic moment in the future with an eye towards fantasy, wishing for something that has already outlived its time.
- Andromache and the Dragon by Brittany Pladek (Ideomancer) An unusual dragon composed of all of the inanimate and living flotsam around it terrorizes a seaside town. The dragon can feed on things like desires and in so slaking its hunger removes the wants and wishes of a town. Andromache of the title witnesses all of this, a strangely objective and patient morsel.
- Backpack by Stefan A. Slater. (Betwixt) A short story about disposing of fears and doubts in your own way. Dryly philosophical.
- The cork won't stay by Nate Southard. (Nightmare) A bleak take on mind control about the ways grief makes monsters of us, the pointlessness of existence as told by someone with near godlike powers.
- The Last Dinosaur by Lavie Tidhar (Shimmer) I really enjoyed this melancholy piece about the last gasoline automobile and the coming to terms with the death of loved ones. Filled with regret and other complicated escape mechanisms.
- Islands of the Coast of Capitola, 1978 by David Herter (Tor.com) A hazy and hallucinogenic coming of age story following a boy named Ballou as the the worlds of his restricted real life and the pulp infused characters of his fantasy life begin to merge in queasy confusion. What worked for me was the way the technicolor aspects of pulp fiction felt ambiguous and menacing here.