|Strandbeest Tail by Morgan Crooks 2015|
- Baby Bird by Gwendolyn Kiste. (Tryptich Tales) Tryptich is an interesting market. They only publish three works at a time, and each echoes the other in some thematic way. Kiste’s offering is a dark fairy tale grounded by the friendship between two misfits in a southwestern town. What puts this story on the list for me is its spare and evocative prose, the way the relationship between the girls and their secret fall into place with the absolute minimum of description.
- Sober Kevin is a Bitch by HL Fullerton (Tryptich). I don’t think speculative fiction has quite reached the bottom of the multiverse concept and here’s a story that finds a clever take on multiple versions of a person in communication. The concept of this story, that certain versions of yourself want to help all the others is somehow very sweet and endearing. A concept that could have easily been mined for some dystopian pathos, here offers a very reassuring message about the possibilities of a single human life.
- The Manatees by Heather Kamins. Beautiful story in Betwixt, a market I’ve often found excels in this kind of exploration of alternate realities. Girls pass back and forth rumors of the significance of visits from manatees. Only when the aquatic mammals do finally visit the unnamed narrator does she understand what her friends have actually been talking about.
- The Fixer by Paul McCauly (Clarkesworld) An interesting look at a nearly omnipotent AI gene-engineering a new race of hominims to live on an alien world. Finally discovered by an even more powerful artificial mind, the narrator of the story mounts of a fierce and sympathetic defense of the indefensible.
- Charlotte Incorporated by Rachel K. Jones. Good stuff. Future of brains in jars slaving away for a chance to buy perfect bodies. This story was one part heart-felt philosophical thought experiment and one part Grant Morrison anarchy.