Annie's Short SFF Fiction From 2015 Reading Project

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Annie's Short SFF Fiction From 2015 Reading Project

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1AnnieMod
Jun 2, 2015, 11:31 pm

The Title is clunky but oh well... :)

This thread is for tracking the SFF fiction originally published in 2015 that I am reading (aka stories that are eligible for Hugos 2016 (or so it appears when I am reading them anyway)).

It will include both online and printed stories; links where available for the online ones will be added. When I know which category it goes into (short story, novelette, novella), that will also be noted (and number of words if I have the information).

The thread is not only for what I read in 2015 but for all genre stories from 2015 - so I will keep posting into it next year (and the year after maybe).

Non-genre and older genre stories will have their own thread.

2AnnieMod
Editado: Jun 3, 2015, 3:08 am

Index

3AnnieMod
Jun 2, 2015, 11:31 pm

Index of stories and ratings

4AnnieMod
Jun 3, 2015, 2:07 am

1. "Zapped" by Sherwood Smith. Published by tor.com on May 27, 2015.

I am not even sure where to start with this story. It is way too busy - unnecessarily so. It started great - a young girl finds that she has some special powers. A concept that may not be very original but can be made in a great story. Adding more people with powers should have helped the story but... it almost felt as if the author did not know where to go with it (or at least how to tie it with everything). The group just happened to have the exact set of abilities needed to help find out what happened with Michael. That may work in a series on TV but it just sounds too non-special.

The lack of any explanation on how the powers came to be just felt as a dropped end. We had hints which could have been explored. Maybe there will be a second story down the road. Maybe not. I know that I wish that this was the story that was written. But at the end this felt more like a mainstream story masquerading as fantasy just so that the mystery of Michael's beating can be resolved - and this substory could have been skipped altogether.

It is a well done exploration on the different and the unusual in a society (and in a high school) and about choices and identity but it got mixed with the almost Hollywood style special powers and things just did not mesh well. Or maybe it just needed some more details.

Link: http://www.tor.com/2015/05/27/zapped-sherwood-smith/

5AnnieMod
Jun 3, 2015, 2:15 am

2. "The Two Weddings of Bronwyn Hyatt" by Alex Bledsoe. Published by tor.com on May 6, 2015.

This story is set in a pre-existing Universe which I had not read anything in so I was a bit worried how understandable it will be. I am still not sure if I did not miss some references here and there....

It is a play on the stories of gifts from the small people and what they mean. Of course, our main heroin is not completely human anyway (or something along these lines - this is where some background from the universe would have helped I suspect) but she decides to marry outside of her own circle. And a fairy (of a type) shows up with a deal. Accepting deals is never a good idea and Bronwyn should know this better than anyone but she does make the deal.

It's a nice story but it ended almost abruptly. You know where the story is going even if you do not know the details but for the most of the story it felt more like a sketch of a story than a real story. Still pretty enjoyable though.

Link: http://www.tor.com/2015/05/06/the-two-weddings-of-bronwyn-hyatt-alex-bledsoe/

6AnnieMod
Jun 3, 2015, 2:23 am

3. "Time Bomb Time" by C.C. Finlay . Published by Lightspeed Magazine in May 2015 (Issue 60) .

This is a clever story about time. The beginning start making sense at the end and a lot of what is happening is driven by the need of the story itself. But that does not make it less of a story - I love it when an author manages to pull a language trick and not sacrifice the story in doing so. And it is very amusing to realize that the same dialog backwards works and shows such different things and emotions and it took me a while to realize that the story is unwinding. Very clever writing.

Link: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/time-bomb-time/

7AnnieMod
Jun 3, 2015, 2:30 am

4. "Quiet Town" by Jason Gurley . Published by Lightspeed Magazine in April 2015 (Issue 59).

Almost everyone had left town. It takes a while for the story to tell you why (even though some hints are there) and outside of this, it is just a story about an annoying old neighbor visiting the main character. Set this story in a world that is about to stop existing (at least this part of it anyway) and it becomes a genre story. It is a good story but it is not really memorable. I liked the buildup to what is going on in this world though.

Link: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/quiet-town/

8AnnieMod
Jun 3, 2015, 2:47 am

5. "Red Planet" by Caroline M. Yoachim. Published by Lightspeed Magazine in Feb 2015 (Issue 57) .

What would you do to be able to follow your dreams? Tara is one of the perfect choices for the Xenobiology program on Mars but she cannot go because she is blind. And of course, this being in the future, this is solvable. Except that solving it would mean that there is a problem with her being blind.

I have a general problem with this story. Making a huge change so you can get accepted into a program and then revert is not a behavior that should be celebrated. And even though there was an attempt to show that Tara was trying to get used to the new reality, it did not feel that way. I was sure that this is where the story is going.

Treating a disability as a gift is ok - if blindness is preferred by her, this is her choice. Mars probably should not have had the vision test in order to allow immigration - but when they decided to have it, anyone that want to live there should have followed the rules. As I am going through an immigration process now, it sounded even worse to me than it would have usually - "I want this, I do not care about the rules, I will cheat it and get it". It does not matter if she is the best candidate or not. It just is wrong. Very very wrong.


Link: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/red-planet/

9AnnieMod
Jun 3, 2015, 2:52 am

6. "By Degrees and Dilatory Time" by S. L. Huang . Published by Strange Horizons on 18 May 2015.

Two stories in a row about blindness and eyes implants... it just happens this way sometimes I guess.
This time it starts with someone that is seeing but is about to loose his eyes. The story is following through the adaptation and acceptance of the changes. It is more a meditation on what the eyes are and how to accept being different than anything else.

The flow is a bit clunky - but it is needed considering the type of the story. And even if the transplants root the story straight into the genre, it could have been about any transplantation (or any visible change) - it's about accepting who you are after all.

Link: http://www.strangehorizons.com/2015/20150518/dilatory-f.shtml

10AnnieMod
Jun 3, 2015, 2:59 am

7. "Cloth Mother" by Sarah Pauling . Published by Strange Horizons on 11 May 2015.

Meet Mazie. She lives with a mother and a computer teacher that can create life-like forms for her. You know that she is not just a normal girl pretty fast but it takes a while for the story to reveal its secrets. You never learn what happened and why Mazie is where she is (but after just finishing "Seveneves", I kinda have a suspicion that the case is similar - the Earth got impossible to live on so the pods were sent off to try to save the race; without the novel so fresh in my mind, I may have thought that this is a different Earth...)

But is a computer program enough for rearing a child that needs to take care of other people when she grows up? I am still not sure if it was Mazie that manipulated the machine into finding her some company or if it was the plan of the machine from day 1. In a way, the end almost sounds as the latter. But it is a nice story about the power of companionship and communication and what makes us who we are.

Link: http://www.strangehorizons.com/2015/20150511/paulingclothmother-f.shtml

11AnnieMod
Jun 3, 2015, 3:06 am

8. "Yours, Not Mine" by Hamilton Perez . Published by Daily Science Fiction on June 3rd, 2015.

And a flash story for the end of the day.

Are demons always bad? When they started showing up in the narrator's home, her partner Charles is really upset. And the newborn baby seems to be the focus. Except that they do not seem to be doing anything bad - they just show up all the time. But as they are demons, they need to have some motives, right? Charles thinks so anyway and make his decisions based on that.

And the end twist is chilling. Absolutely chilling. And unexpected even though it does feel logical.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/modern-fantasy/hamilton-perez/yours-not-m...