Skip to main content

What I Read in April 2017

I have a few short speculative stories to recommend from the past month. Particularly this year I find myself drawn to stories that promise one of two things: gloomy, restless undead or enormous 16-wheel tractor trailers, flames painted down the side, horns blaring, riding down the venal and corrupt and flattening them into road-kill on the side of the road. I have three of the former listed and one of the latter.

Parallax by Morgan Crooks (2017)
  • Her Hands Like Ice by KT Bryski. (Bracken) This was very good. The central of the mystery of the story - what haunts the narrator - is spun out convincingly, mesmerizingly until the final line. The reader's ache to UNDERSTAND this mystery echoes the cold need of the narrator to keep ahold of her dead sister. Not so much a revision or reaction to the classic vampire set-up as a clever misdirection. 
  • Infinite Love Engine by Joseph Allen Hill (Lightspeed). A great rollicking funny-as-hell, deranged, explosion of Afrofutrist space opera. It reminds me of a great many things without ever slipping away from its own depraved inevitability. This is fiction where the story is the story and the voice is the voice and if you're not down with that, then there are plenty of other things to read. My favorite story so far this year and one that got me thinking about how one might start classifying stories like this and Brooke Bolander's. Is it too early to start talking about Cosmic Weirdness as a genre? Read the following stories and let me know if you see commonalities: 
  • Red Hood by Eric Schaller ( Nightmare) This is a zombie apocalypse retelling of certain fairy tale involving capes, dark paths, grandmothers, and wolves. Inventive and darkly playful. Somehow finds a way of being inside its source story and outside of it at the same time. 
  • The Language of Endings by Kristi DeMeester (The Dark) Goddamn. This is a fine story. It's twisted, which befits a story appearing in The Dark, but also spare and relatively straight-forward considering the subject matter. A ghost haunts a former teacher, a man who grooms his students as lovers, already manipulating another girl into his bed. The ghost carefully twists the story around from being about lament and tragedy to be about something else. Despite the disability of death, the ghost retains the power of words, coaxing them into meaning what she needs them to mean. This is not a story about victimhood but ownership and survival.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reading Response to "A Good Man is Hard to Find."

Reader Response to “A Good Man is Hard to Find” Morgan Crooks I once heard Flannery O’Connor’s work introduced as a project to describe a world denied God’s grace. This critic of O’Connor’s work meant the Christian idea that a person’s misdeeds, mistakes, and sins could be sponged away by the power of Jesus’ sacrifice at Crucifixion. The setting of her stories often seem to be monstrous distortions of the real world. These are stories where con men steal prosthetic limbs, hired labor abandons mute brides in rest stops, and bizarre, often disastrous advice is imparted.  O’Connor herself said of this reputation for writing ‘grotesque’ stories that ‘anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.’ This is both a witty observation and a piece of advice while reading O’Connor’s work. These are stories about pain and lies and ugliness. The brutality that happens to characters …

Arisia 2019: Wrap Report

Arisia 2019 is over!

It’s back to the real world this week after an entire weekend in Arisia 2019. I go to this convention every year, but this one will definitely be special to me. For one thing, this is the year that felt, at least for a moment, like it wasn’t going to happen. If the debacle with the e-board wasn’t enough, there was the strike at the Westin. The convention felt slimmer this year for sure. A lot of people self-selected to not come this year and honestly with the smaller, more confined venue of the Boston Park Plaza, that was a decision enormously beneficial to my enjoyment of this con.
I had a blast. I was more invested in the panels this year because I wrote a portion of them. It’s one thing to go to a panel and listen for reading suggestions, or new ideas, or people to follow on social media, but it’s quite another to put together a panel of people to create a very specific conversation and then get to sit back to see how the discussion plays out. I loved that aspect…

Thoughts on the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Anything that persists for an entire decade as a recurring entertainment event begins to mean more than simple entertainment. It’s inevitable that once a franchise like the MCU has continued for long enough that its overall significance has to be factored in. I don’t think fans quite appreciate what genre movies like these used to be like before MCU.

It’s really not the special effects or effective mix of humor, action, and character development. It’s the fact that all three of things happen within the persistent universe. Because no Marvel movie is the last Marvel movie, and there’s always another one to develop the characters, fans have a different relationship to this franchise.

It’s more like what comic books are, obviously, where no matter what crazy stuff goes on in a crossover event, you have a reasonable expectation that your favorite character will be back the next month or the month after that.

There have been good MCU movies, mediocre movies, and one that I’m pretty sure quali…