Besides a few anthologies worth of short stories, I got to review about the expected number of current short fiction. I'm selecting a few that really stuck with me this month.
- A Diet of Worms by Valerie Valdes. The best Twilight Zone episodes, the scariest ones, revolved around worlds just slightly out of step with our own. They were like traps or snares. Take the wrong door or stop at the wrong town and there you'd be, stuck forever. That's what this story is like. The narrator keeps going to see a movie called "The Queen in Red" which somehow sucks the life out of the narrator. The terror here is of that dread that once time has gone it can't come back.
- The Key to St Medusa's by Kat Howard. (Lightspeed) This story at times appears a reworking of the Bluebeard legend, but with an exploration of the wider world around the monster's brides. I used the opening in the Creative Writing Workshop I facilitate as an example of how to build interest and quickly establish a world. Case in point: "Also, I was born on a Tuesday."
- "The Next Scene" by Robert Reed. (Clarkesworld) Interesting look at a post human world where people act out roles to attract extra money from machine overlords. Not quite a dystopia, the story seems to suggest that the roles we play in our lives don't require anything so flashy as the Singularity to explain.
- "Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies" by Brooke Bolander. A seriously bad-assed flash story. The attitude of this story, the sheer hostility it conjures, seems capable of fulfilling the promise of its title all in itself. Language set free, wrought fresh and contemporary is always a shocking act because it seems to render obsolete everything that came before it. That would be my biggest take-away from this story. Not the revenge it describes - but its act of jubilant obliteration.
Also, a final note - I may have some exciting news to share with the next few days. I just want to make some confirmations beforehand...