Short Story Per Day in 2015 (July through December)

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Short Story Per Day in 2015 (July through December)

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1amysisson
Jun 30, 2015, 2:33 pm

My first thread was getting unwieldy, so I'm starting a new thread for July through December. If I do this again next year, I'll probably do four quarterly threads.

2elenchus
Jun 30, 2015, 2:51 pm

A happy problem: a sign of success.

3amysisson
Editado: Jan 16, 2016, 7:28 pm

JULY 2015

240. (1 in July) - July 1, 2015 - "The Man's Smile" by J. Robert DeWitt. Published in Daily Science Fiction, July 1, 2015. Read 07-02-15.
241. (2 in July) - July 2, 2015 - "A Policy for Visitors at Reynold's Home for Retired Time Travelers" by David Macpherson. Published in Every Day Fiction, July 2, 2015. Read 07-02-15.
242. (3 in July) - July 2, 2015 (second story) - "Through a Window" by Angela Johnson. Published in On the Fringe (anthology), 2001. Read 07-02-15
243. (4 in July) - July 2, 2015 (third story) - "How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps" by A. Merc Rustad. Published on Glittership (podcasts), April 2015. Read 07-02-15.
244. (5 in July) - July 3, 2015 - "The Princess in the Basement" by Hope Erica Schultz. Published in Diabolical Plots, June 2015. Read 07-03-15.
245. (6 in July) - July 4, 2015 - "Deus Ex Homine" by Hannu Rajaniemi. Published in Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction (collection), 2015. Read 07-05-15.
246. (7 in July) - July 5, 2015 - "World Away" by Alan Garth. Published in Perihelion, June 2015. Read 07-06-15.
247. (8 in July) - July 6, 2015 - "Not a Bird" by H.E. Roulo. Published in Diabolical Plots, July 2015. Read 07-06-15.
248. (9 in July) - July 7, 2015 - "The Server and the Dragon" by Hannu Rajaniemi. Published in Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction (collection), 2015. Read 07-07-15.
249. (10 in July) - July 7, 2015 (second story) - "Your Past Life Interferes With My Very Important Studies" by C.L. Holland. Published in Flash Fiction Online, July 2015. Read 07-07-15.
250. (11 in July) - July 8, 2015 - "The Anarchist's Guide to Fine Art" by J.C. Nathans. Published in Mash Stories, July 1, 2015. Read 07-08-15.
251. (12 in July) - July 9, 2015 - "The Keepsake" by Gary Cuba. Published on QuarterReads. Read 07-09-15.
252. (13 in July) - July 10, 2015 - "Green Fairies on a Starry Night" by Caroline M. Yoachim. Read 07-11-15.
253. (14 in July) - July 11, 2015 - "Alive, Alive Oh" by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley. Published in Lightspeed, June 2013. Read 07-12-15.
254. (15 in July) - July 12, 2015 - "Life on Earth" by Lisa Shapter. Published in Expanded Horizons, January 2015. Read 07-13-15.
255. (16 in July) - July 13, 2015 - "As Skinny Does" by Adele Griffin. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 07-13-15.
256. (17 in July) - July 14, 2015 - "Tyche and the Ants" by Hannu Rajaniemi. Published in Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction (collection), 2015. Read 07-14-15.
257. (18 in July) - July 15, 2015 - "Dreamboat" by Robin Wyatt Dunn. Published in Perihelion, July 2015. Read 07-15-15.
258. (19 in July) - July 16, 2015 - "Galaxy Gals" by merriman. Fan fiction, published on the Archive of Our Own website, December 2014. Read 07-16-15.
259. (20 in July) - July 17, 2015 - "The Haunting of Apollo A7LB" by Hannu Rajaniemi. Published in Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction (collection), 2015. Read 07-20-15.
260. (21 in July) - July 18, 2015 - "His Master's Voice" by Hannu Rajaniemi. Published in Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction (collection), 2015. Read 07-20-15.
261. (22 in July) - July 19, 2015 - "The Little Thing in the Bottle" by S.R. Mastrantone. Published on QuarterReads. Read 07-21-15.
262. (23 in July) - July 20, 2015 - "Rachel's Vampire" by Paul Zindel. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 07-22-15.
263. (24 in July) - July 21, 2015 - "Food, Glorious Food" by Joey To. Published in Perihelion, July 2015. Read 07-15-15.
264. (25 in July) - July 22, 2015 - "A Certain Future" by Karl Lykken. Published in Every Day Fiction, July 22, 2015. Read 07-23-15.
265. (26 in July) - July 23, 2015 - "Non-Zero Probabilities" by N.K. Jemisin. Published in The Mammoth Book of Nebula Awards: SF, 2011.
266. (27 in July) - July 24, 2015 - "Testing" by Tamora Pierce. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 07-25-15.
267. (28 in July) - July 25, 2015 - "This is Telepathy" by Megan Neumann. Published in Daily Science Fiction, July 14, 2015. Read 07-26-15.
268. (29 in July) - July 26, 2015 - "Endgame" by Barry Charman. Published in Daily Science Fiction, July 29, 2015. Read 07-29-15.
269. (30 in July) - July 27, 2015 - "Can't Do It" by Tom Hadrava. Published in Every Day Fiction, July 28, 2015. Read 07-29-15.
270. (31 in July) - July 28, 2015 - "The Butterfly Disjunct" by Stewart C. Baker. Published on QuarterReads. Read 07-29-15.
271. (32 in July) - July 29, 2015 - "The Itch" by Lisa Finch. Published in Mash Stories, July 1, 2015. Read 07-29-15.
272. (33 in July) - July 29, 2015 (second story) - "Sirocco Catches Marl" by Bokerah Brumley. Published in Mash Stories, June 11, 2015.
273. (34 in July) - July 30, 2015 - "And Now, Playing Us Out, The Sweet Sounds Of Legendary Jazz Trumpeter UNCO-895i" by Paul A. Hamilton. Published in Freeze Frame Fiction, q5 vol. v., July 2015. Read 07-30-15.
274. (35 in July) - July 31, 2015 - "Noted" by Steffany Willey. Published in Every Day Fiction, July 30, 2015. Read 07-31-15.



AUGUST 2015

275. (1 in August) - August 1, 2015 - "Thirteen Diddles" by Jon Scieszka. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 08-02-15.
276. (2 in August) - August 2, 2015 - "Sproing!" by Joan Abelove. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 08-02-15.
277. (3 in August) - August 2, 2015 (second story) - "The World of Darkness" by Lois Metzger. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 08-02-15.
278. (4 in August) - August 3, 2015 - "He Who Watches" by Alex Shvartsman. Published in Fireside, July 2015. Read 08-03-15.
279. (5 in August) - August 4, 2015 - "Four Seasons in the Forest of Your Mind" by Caroline M. Yoachim. Published in F&SF, May/June 2015. Read 08-04-15.
280. (6 in August) - August 4, 2015 (second story) - "The Ladies' Aquatic Gardening Society" by Henry Lien. Published in Asimov's, June 2015. Read 08-04-15.
281. (7 in August) - August 5, 2015 - "Duel Identities" by David Lubar. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 08-05-15.
282. (8 in August) - August 6, 2015 - "Final Cut" by Rich Wallace. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 08-12-15.
283. (9 in August) - August 7, 2015 - "Road Test" by KJ Kabza. Published in Daily Science Fiction, August 13, 2015. Read 08-13-15.
284. (10 in August) - August 8, 2015 - "Full Circle" by JT Gill. Published in Every Day Fiction, August 12, 2015. Read 08-13-15.
285. (11 in August) - August 9, 2015 - "How I Saved the Galaxy (on a Limited Budget)" by Aidan Doyle. Published in Every Day Fiction, August 10, 2015. Read 08-13-15.
286. (12 in August) - August 10, 2015 - "Blow" by Gerri Leen. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-13-15.
287. (13 in August) - August 11, 2015 - "Ballerina" by Jess Kapp. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-14-15.
288. (14 in August) - August 12, 2015 - "Sexual Liberation for Married Ladies" by April Aasheim. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-14-15.
289. (15 in August) - August 13, 2015 - "Conspiracy Theory" by William Hertling. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-14-15.
290. (16 in August) - August 14, 2015 - "Greyback in Blue" by A. Lee Martinez. Published in Robots versus Slime Monsters (collection), 2013. Read 08-14-15.
291. (17 in August) - August 14, 2015 (second story) - "Aliens at the Flea Market" by M. Earl Smith. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-14-15.
292. (18 in August) - August 14, 2015 (third story) - "Crimson Cotton" by Macy Mixdorf. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-14-15.
293. (19 in August) - August 15, 2015 - "The Job" by Joe R. Lansdale. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-15-15.
294. (20 in August) - August 15, 2015 (second story) - "Ask Not for Whom" by Jason D. Wittman. Published in Talebones 30, Summer 2005. Read 08-15-15.
295. (21 in August) - August 16, 2015 - "Ruby on the 67" by Ursula K. Le Guin. Published in Unlocking the Air and Other Stories (collection), 1996. Read 08-16-15.
296. (22 in August) - August 17, 2015 - "A Safe Space" by Joyce Hansen. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 08-17-15.
297. (23 in August) - August 18, 2015 - "Valley of the Black Pig" by Scott Crowder. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-18-15.
298. (24 in August) - August 18, 2015 (second story) - "(Not) for Sale" by Barry Koplen. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-18-15.
299. (25 in August) - August 19, 2015 - "Métier" by John Deal. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-24-15.
300. (26 in August) - August 20, 2015 - "Queenkiller" by Adam Thomas Gottfried. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-24-15.
301. (27 in August) - August 21, 2015 - "Anika's Fall" by Jennifer Cokeley. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-24-15.
302. (28 in August) - August 22, 2015 - "Class Clown" by Jim Pahz. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-24-15.
303. (29 in August) - August 23, 2015 - "Nightly Sin. Morning Penance." by Maria Clark. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-24-15.
304. (30 in August) - August 24, 2015 - "20/20" by Arie Coleman. Published in Strange Horizons, August 17, 2015. Read 08-27-15.
305. (31 in August) - August 25, 2015 - "The Millennium Party" by Walter Jon Williams. Published in Baby Shoes (anthology), June 2015. Read 08-28-15.
306. (32 in August) - August 26, 2015 - "That Seriously Obnoxious Time I Was Stuck at Witch Rimelda’s One Hundredth Birthday Party" by Tina Connolly. Published on Tor.com, August 26, 2015. Read 08-29-15.
307. (33 in August) - August 27, 2015 - "The Cubicle Witch" by James Luther Reinebold. Published in Daily Science Fiction, April 28, 2015. Read 08-29-15.
308. (34 in August) - August 28, 2015 - "Dinosaur-Man" by Rhys Thomas. Published in Daily Science Fiction, August 31, 2015. Read 08-31-15.
309. (35 in August) - August 29, 2015 - "Reverse Logic" by Sierra July. Published in Perihelion, August 2015. Read 08-31-15.
310. (36 in August) - August 30, 2015 - "They Call Me Wizard" by Robert Lowell Russell. Published in Perihelion, August 2015. Read 08-31-15.
311. (37 in August) - August 31, 2015 - "The Copperlin U.S. Post Office Manual" by Laura Rudin. Published in Crossed Genres Magazine, August 2015. Read 08-31-15.



SEPTEMBER 2015

312. (1 in September) - September 1, 2015 - "I Was Really Very Hungry" by M.F.K. Fisher. Published in "Selected Shorts: Food Fictions" (audiobook anthology). Listened on audio CD 09-01-15.
313. (2 in September) - September 1, 2015 (second story) - "Confessions of a Superhero" by Joel Hunt. Published in Every Day Fiction, August 31, 2015. Read 09-01-15.
314. (3 in September) - September 2, 2015 - "Flight Feathers" by Kerry Kullen. Published in One Teen Story, August 2015. Read 09-02-15.
315. (4 in September) - September 3, 2015 - "Beacon" by K.S. O'Neill. Published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2, 2015. Read 09-03-15.
316. (5 in September) - September 3, 2015 (second story) - "Second Lives" by Danika Dinsmore. Published on QuarterReads. Read 09-03-15.
317. (6 in September) - September 4, 2015 - "Better than 1000 Monkeys with Typewriters" by K.R. Horton. Published in Every Day Fiction, September 3, 2015. Read 09-04-15.
318. (7 in September) - September 4, 2015 (second story) - "We Clever Jacks" by Greg van Eekhout. Published in Podcastle, October 5, 2012. Listened online 09-04-15.
319. (8 in September) - September 5, 2015 - "Weight of the World" by José Pablo Iriarte. Published in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, February 2015. Read 09-05-15.
320. (9 in September) - September 6, 2015 - "An Immense Darkness" by Eric James Stone. Published in Analog, March 2015. Read 09-06-15.
321. (10 in September) - September 7, 2015 - "The Circle of Life" by Aline Carriere. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 7, 2015. Read 09-07-15.
322. (11 in September) - September 8, 2015. "The Book" by Shelley Stoehr. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 09-08-15.
323. (12 in September) - September 8, 2015 (second story) - "The Scream" by Nancy Fulda. Published in NewMyths.com, December 2010. Read 09-08-15.
324. (13 in September) - September 9, 2015 - "At Apocalypse's Edge" by Rebecca Birch. Published in Every Day Fiction, September 6, 2015. Read 09-09-15.
325. (14 in September) - September 9, 2015 (second story) - "To Express How Much" by Mary Ann McGuigan. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 09-09-15.
326. (15 in September) - September 9, 2015 (third story) - "Strong as Stone" by Effie Seiberg. Published in Veux Magazine, October 2013. Read 09-09-15.
327. (16 in September) - September 10, 2015 - "Found Day" by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 10, 2015. Read 09-10-15.
328. (17 in September) - September 10, 2015 (second story) - "Ginny & The Ouroboros" by Stephanie Lorée. Published in Urban Fantasy Magazine, March 2015. Read 09-10-15.
329. (18 in September) - September 10, 2015 (third story) - "Kids in the Mall" by Mel Glenn. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 09-10-15.
330. (19 in September) - September 10, 2015 (fourth story) - "Regarding your Position as our Third Year Teacher" by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley. Published on QuarterReads. Read 09-10-15.
331. (20 in September) - September 11, 2015 - "Tell Me Who You Hang Out With and I'll Tell You What You Are" by Eleanora E. Tate. Published in Lost & Found (anthology), 2000. Read 09-11-15.
332. (21 in September) - September 11, 2015 (second story) - "Weremoose" by Mary E. Lowd. Published on QuarterReads. Read 09-11-15.
333. (22 in September) - September 12, 2015 - "The Springwood Shelter for Genetically Modified Animals" by Verity Lane. Published in Crossed Genres Magazine, September 2015. Read 09-12-15.
334. (23 in September) - September 13, 2015 - "To Be Carved (Upon the Author’s Tombstone in the Event of His Untimely Demise)" by David Steffen. Published in Perihelion, September 2015. Read 09-14-15.
335. (24 in September) - September 14, 2015 - "Witness for the Prosecution" by Agatha Christie. Published in Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories (audiobook collection). Listened 09-15-15.
336. (25 in September) - September 15, 2015 - "Indigestion" by Anton Chekhov. Published in "Selected Shorts: Food Fictions" (audiobook anthology). Listened on audio CD 09-15-15.
337. (26 in September) - September 15, 2015 (second story) - "FemCloud Inc." by Mary E. Lowd. Published in Daily Science Fiction, February 19, 2015. Read 09-15-15.
338. (27 in September) - September 16, 2015 - "Stacey and Promo Sail the Seven Seas" by Graham Downs. Published on QuarterReads. Read 09-17-15.
339. (28 in September) - September 17, 2015 - "Just a Little More" by V.S. Pritchett. Published in "Selected Shorts: Food Fictions" (audiobook anthology). Listened on audio CD 09-17-15.
340. (29 in September) - September 18, 2015 - "Enough" by Alice McDermott. Published in "Selected Shorts: Food Fictions" (audiobook anthology). Listened on audio CD 09-17-15.
341. (30 in September) - September 19, 2015 - "Bread of Life" by Beth Cato. Published in Nature, April 9, 2015. Read 09-20-15.
342. (31 in September) - September 20, 2015 - "Pocosin" by Ursula Vernon. Published in Apex, January 2015. Read 09-21-15.
343. (32 in September) - September 21, 2015 - "Tell Us You Were Here" by Anne Valente. Published in One Story, April 2015. Read 09-24-15.
344. (33 in September) - September 22, 2015 - "Closet" by Melissa Mead. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 30, 2015. Read 09-30-15.
345. (34 in September) - September 23, 2015 - "The Late Mrs. Buttons" by Sally Hamilton. Published in Strange Afterlives (anthology), 2015. Read 09-30-15.
346. (35 in September) - September 24, 2015 - "From the Other Side of the Rubicon" by Sean Mulroy. Published in Perihelion, September 2015. Read 09-30-15.
347. (36 in September) - September 25, 2015 - "Grass Girl" by Caroline Yoachim. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 25, 2015. Read 09-30-15.
348. (37 in September) - September 26, 2015 - "Pidgin" by Katrina S. Forest. Published in Flash Fiction Online, September 2015. Read 09-30-2015.
349. (38 in September) - September 27, 2015 - "The Wedding Gig" by John League. Published in Flash Fiction Online, September 2015. Read 09-30-2015.
350. (39 in September) - September 28, 2015 - "Note from the Future" by Ray Vukcevich. Published in Flash Fiction Online, December 2009. Read 09-30-2015.
351. (40 in September) - September 29, 2015 - "Ink Night" by Devin Miller. Published in Every Day Fiction, September 30, 2015. Read 09-30-2015.
352. (41 in September) - September 30, 2015 - "Rediscovering Happiness" by Jessica Marie Baumgartner. Published in Every Day Fiction, September 27, 2015. Read 09-30-2015.



OCTOBER 2015

353. (1 in October) - October 1, 2015 - "Something Wicked This Way Plumbs" by Vylar Kaftan. Published in Shimmer, 2007. Read 10-01-15.
354. (2 in October) - October 2, 2015 - "Summer in Realtime" by Erica L. Satifka. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 2, 2015. Read 10-02-15.
355. (3 in October) - October 3, 2015 - "Grim Hunter" by Tina Yeager. Published in Havok, October 2015. Read 10-03-15.
356. (4 in October) - October 4, 2015 - "The Demon of Russet Street" by Jessica Reisman. Published in Three-Lobed Burning Eye, September 2015.
357. (5 in October) - October 5, 2015 - "Dis-Orientation" by C.I. Kemp. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 5, 2015.
358. (6 in October) - October 6, 2015 - "The Grim Rufus" by Peter Wood. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 29, 2013.
359. (7 in October) - October 7, 2015 - "Every Other Emily" by Joseph Sloan. Published in One Teen Story, September 2015. Read 10-08-15.
360. (8 in October) - October 8, 2015 - "The Great Old Pumpkin" by John Aegard. Published in Strange Horizons, October 25, 2004. Read 10-10-15.
361. (9 in October) - October 9, 2015 - "The Burger Bargain" by Wendy Nikel. Published on QuarterReads. Read 10-11-15.
362. (10 in October) - October 10, 2015 - "Super-Parents Last All Childhood Long" by Erica L. Satifka. Published in Daily Science Fiction, July 30, 2013. Read 10-12-15.
363. (11 in October) - October 11, 2015 - "Night Witch" by Shawn Scarber. Published in Strange Afterlives (anthology), 2015. Read 10-12-15.
364. (12 in October) - October 12, 2015 - "Bump in the Night" by Linda M. Scott. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 12, 2015. Read 10-13-15.
365. (13 in October) - October 13, 2015 - "Spirit Board" by D.J. Kozlowski. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 13, 2015. Read 10-13-15.
366. (14 in October) - October 13, 2015 (second story) - "Bloody Mary" by Norman Partridge. Published in Nightmare, October 2013. Read 10-13-15.
367. (15 in October) - October 14, 2015 - "Crystal" by Ken Liu. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 15, 2015. Read 10-15-15.
368. (16 in October) - October 15, 2015 - "When the Circus Lights Down" by Sarah Pinsker. Published in Uncanny, March/April 2015. Read 10-16-15.
369. (17 in October) - October 16, 2015 - "Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez?" by Isabel Yap. Published in Nightmare, March 2014. Read 10-16-15.
370. (18 in October) - October 16, 2015 (second story) - "The Mirror Man" by Andrija Popovic. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 16, 2015. Read 10-16-15.
371. (19 in October) - October 16, 2015 (third story) - "Genie From the Gym" by M.K. Hutchins. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 14, 2015. Read 10-16-15.
372. (20 in October) - October 17, 2015 - "The Half-life of Chocolate" by Nancy Fulda. Published by Fae Publishing, 2011; reprinted on the author's blog, October 2015. Read 10-17-15.
373. (21 in October) - October 18, 2015 - "8 Steps to Winning Your Partner Back (From the Server)" by A.T. Greenblatt. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 19, 2015. Read 10-19-15.
374. (22 in October) - October 19, 2015 - "Stalked by Night" by Michael Seese. Published in Havok, October 2015. Read 10-19-15.
375. (23 in October) - October 20, 2015 - "The Last Book" by Guanani Gomez. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 20, 2015. Read 10-20-15.
376. (24 in October) - October 20, 2015 (second story) - "Message from Beyond" by José Pablo Iriarte. Published in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, July/August 2015. Read 10-20-15.
377. (25 in October) - October 21, 2015 - "The Cats' Game" by Michelle Muenzler. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 21, 2015. Read 10-21-15.
378. (26 in October) - October 22, 2015 - "The Librarian's Dilemma" by E. Saxey. Published in Unlikely Story: The Journal of Unlikely Academia, October 2015. Read 10-22-15.
379. (27 in October) - October 23, 2015 - "The Devil Is Beating His Wife Today" by Sandra McDonald. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 23, 2015. Read 10-23-15.
380. (28 in October) - October 24, 2015 - "Possessed of a Fierce Violence" by Alexis A. Hunter. Published in Page & Spine, October 23, 2015. Read 10-24-15.
381. (29 in October) - October 24, 2015 (second story) - "Virtual Blues" by Lee Budar-Danoff. Published in Diabolical Plots, March 2015. Read 10-24-15.
382. (30 in October) - October 24, 2015 (third story) - "A Marriage" by Kiik A.K. Published in Expanded Horizons, October 2015. Read 10-24-15.
383. (31 in October) - October 25, 2015 - "James and the Prince of Darkness" by Kevin Lauderdale. Published in Ain't Superstitious (anthology), 2015. Read 10-26-15.
384. (32 in October) - October 26, 2015 - "And in the End, They All Lived Happily Ever After" by Michelle Ann King. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 26, 2015. Read 10-26-15.
385. (33 in October) - October 27, 2015 - "The Terrible" by John Wiswell. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 27, 2015. Read 10-27-15.
386. (34 in October) - October 28, 2015 - "Lirazel's Heart" by Robert B. Finegold. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read 11-1-15.
387. (35 in October) - October 29, 2015 - "Nakamura-san" by Robin Wyatt Dunn. Published in Perihelion, October 2015. Read 11-4-15.
388. (36 in October) - October 30, 2015 - "No Spaceships Go" by Annie Bellet. Published in Daily Science Fiction, December 17, 2010. Read 11-4-15.
389. (37 in October) - October 31, 2015 - "The Last of Time" by Ken Poyner. Published in Daily Science Fiction, November 5, 2015. Read 11-5-15.



NOVEMBER 2015

390. (1 in November) - November 1, 2015 - "Sea Monkey Business" by Paul A. Freeman. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 31, 2015. Read 11-5-15.
391. (2 in November) - November 2, 2015 - "Checkmate Charlie" by Gustavo Bondoni. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read 11-8-15.
392. (3 in November) - November 3, 2015 - "Fathers' Faces" by Robin Wyatt Dunn. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read 11-8-15.
393. (4 in November) - November 4, 2015 - "The Maker's Mark" by Mark Silcox. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read 11-8-15.
394. (5 in November) - November 5, 2015 - "Spellcasting" by Gerri Leen. Published in Ain't Superstitious (anthology), 2015. Read 11-9-15.
395. (6 in November) - November 6, 2015 - "The Word of Unbinding" by Ursula K. Le Guin. Read in Epic Legends of Fantasy (anthology), 2012. Read 11-9-15.
396. (7 in November) - November 7, 2015 - "Charlie" by Carla Richards. Published in A Quiet Shelter There (anthology), September 2015. Read 11-11-15.
397. (8 in November) - November 8, 2015 - "Lilly" by Melissa Mead. Published in A Quiet Shelter There (anthology), September 2015. Read 11-11-15.
398. (9 in November) - November 9, 2015 - "Silent Familiar" by Cat Rambo. Published in A Quiet Shelter There (anthology), September 2015. Read 11-11-15.
399. (10 in November) - November 10, 2015 - "A Brief History of the New Brighton Toy Poodle" by Lex Joy. Published in A Quiet Shelter There (anthology), September 2015. Read 11-11-15.
400. (11 in November) - November 11, 2015 - "Schrödinger's Schrödinger" by Benjamin Jacobson. Published in Ain't Superstitious (anthology), 2015. Read 11-12-15.
401. (12 in November) - November 12, 2015 - "Nine Ways to Communicate with the Living" by Sarina Dorie. Published in Ain't Superstitious (anthology), 2015. Read 11-12-15.
402. (13 in November) - November 13, 2015 - "Fishing Lures" by G.L. Dearman. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 16, 2015. Read 11-13-15.
403. (14 in November) - November 13, 2015 (second story) - "The Broken Doll" by Robert Green. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read 11-13-15.
404. (15 in November) - November 14, 2015 - "Lady of the Skulls" by Patricia A. McKillip. Published in The Secret History of Fantasy (anthology), 2010. Read 11-14-15.
405. (16 in November) - November 15, 2015 - "Looking for Nanna" by Gerald Warfield. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 18, 2015. Read 11-16-15.
406. (17 in November) - November 16, 2015 - "Here is My Thinking on a Situation That Affects Us All" by Rahul Kanakia. Published in Lightspeed, November 2015. Read 11-18-15.
407. (18 in November) - November 17, 2015 - "Rain Like Diamonds" by Wendy Nikel. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 4, 2015. Read 11-21-15.
408. (19 in November) - November 18, 2015 - "Recipe: 1 Universe" by Effie Seiberg. Published in Galaxy's Edge, September 2015. Read 11-21-15.
409. (20 in November) - November 19, 2015 - "Forgiveness" by Leah Cypress. Published in Asimov's, February 2015. Read 11-24-15.
410. (21 in November) - November 20, 2015 - "Noise Pollution" by Alison Wilgus. Published in Strange Horizons, April 4, 2015. Read 11-24-15.
411. (22 in November) - November 21, 2015 - "Loving Grace" by Erica L. Satifka. Published in Clarkesworld, September 2015. Read 11-25-15.
412. (23 in November) - November 22, 2015 - "To Fall, and Pause, and Fall" by Lisa Nohealani Morton. Published in Fireside, February 2015. Read 11-28-15.
413. (24 in November) - November 23, 2015 - "Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House!" by Matthew Sanborn Smith. Published in Diabolical Plots, November 2015. Read 11-28-15.
414. (25 in November) - November 24, 2015 - "My Wife is a Bear in the Morning" by David Steffen. Published in Podcastle, November 19, 2015. Listened 11-28-15.
415. (26 in November) - November 25, 2015 - "The Plausibility of Dragons" by Kenneth Schneyer. Published in Lightspeed, November 2015. Read 11-30-15.
416. (27 in November) - November 26, 2015 - "Experience Arcade" by James Van Pelt. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 22, 2015. Read 11-30-15.
417. (28 in November) - November 27, 2015 - "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Love, Death" by Caroline M. Yoachim. Published in Lightspeed, November 2015. Read 11-30-15.
418. (29 in November) - November 28, 2015 - "Junk Dreams" by Damien Krsteski. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 13, 2015. Read 11-30-15.
419. (30 in November) - November 29, 2015 - "Last" by Rich Larson. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 26, 2012. Read 11-30-15.
420. (31 in November) - November 30, 2015 - "Honk if You Love Jesus" by R.L. Black. Published in Freeze Frame Fiction: v2 flash fiction: YA, publication date unknown. Read 11-30-15.



DECEMBER 2015

421. (1 in December) - December 1, 2015 - "A Christmas Story: Flash Fiction Style" by Darynda Jones. Published on the author's blog, November 30, 2011. Read 12-01-15.
422. (2 in December) - December 2, 2015 - "Beyond 550 Astronomical Units" by Mike Brotherton. Published in Nature, December 2, 2015. Read 12-02-15.
423. (3 in December) - December 3, 2015 - "Fibonacci" by Eleanor R. Wood. Published in Flash Fiction Online, December 2015. Read 12-04-15.
424. (4 in December) - December 4, 2015 - "Carpenter of the Universe" by Nicola Wells. Published in Mash Stories, October 24, 2015. Read 12-04-15.
425. (5 in December) - December 5, 2015 - "I'm Only Going Over" by Cat Hellisen. Published in Daily Science Fiction, December 11, 2015. Read 12-11-15.
426. (6 in December) - December 6, 2015 - "St. Roomba's Gospel" by Rachael K. Jones. Published in Diabolical Plots, December 2015. Read 12-12-15.
427. (7 in December) - December 7, 2015 - "O Tannendoom" by Folly Blaine. Published in Every Day Fiction, December 10, 2015. Read 12-12-15.
428. (8 in December) - December 8, 2015 - "Hairbrush, Socks, Pencils, Orange" by Kate Heartfield. Published in Flash Fiction Online, December 2014. Read 12-12-15.
429. (9 in December) - December 9, 2015 - "Legion" by Brandon Sanderson. Published as a standalone novella by Subterranean Press, 2012. Read 12-13-15.
430. (10 in December) - December 10, 2015 - "Christmas Debt" by Jenny Schwartz. Published in Every Day Fiction, December 14, 2015. Read 12-14-15.
431. (11 in December) - December 11, 2015 - "Legion: Skin Deep" by Brandon Sanderson. Published as a standalone novella by Subterranean Press, 2014 and Gollancz 2015. Read 12-14-15.
432. (12 in December) - December 12, 2015 - "Lupine" by Nisi Shawl. Published in Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales (anthology), Prime, 2013. Read 12-15-15.
433. (13 in December) - December 13, 2015 - "The Spinning Wheel's Tale" by Jane Yolen. Published in Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales (anthology), Prime, 2013. Read 12-15-15.
434. (14 in December) - December 14, 2015 - "The Shortest SF Story Ever" by Seth Chambers. Published in Daily Science Fiction, December 17, 2015. Read 12-17-15.
435. (15 in December) - December 15, 2015 - "Keeping it Real" by Kim Strattford. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read 12-18-15.
436. (16 in December) - December 16, 2015 - "Lovot" by Santiago Eximeno. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read 12-18-15.
437. (17 in December) - December 17, 2015 - "And a Cup of Good Cheer" by C.L. Holland. Published in 10 Flash Quarterly, January 2011. Read 12-19-15.
438. (18 in December) - December 18, 2015 - "The Workshop at the End of the World" by Kristin Janz. Published in Daily Science Fiction, December 22, 2015. Read 12-22-15.
439. (19 in December) - December 19, 2015 - "A Long Way from Home" by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley. Published in Nature, July 23, 2014. Read 12-22-15.
440. (20 in December) - December 20, 2015 - "Mall-Crossed Love" by David Steffen. Published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 62 (December 2015). Read 12-23-15.
441. (21 in December) - December 21, 2015 - "Indelible" by Gwendolyn Clare. Published in Clarkesworld, February 2015. Read 12-23-15.
442. (22 in December) - December 22, 2015 - "The Emperor's Soul" by Brandon Sanderson. Published by Tachyon, 2012. Read 12-25-15.
443. (23 in December) - December 23, 2015 - "Dream Houses" by Genevieve Valentine. Published by WSFA Press, 2014. Read 12-27-15.
444. (24 in December) - December 24, 2015 - "Little Galaxies" by Jennifer Dornan-Fish. Published in Daily Science Fiction, December 30, 2015. Read 12-30-15.
445. (25 in December) - December 25, 2015 - "Seven Items in Jason Reynolds’ Jacket Pocket, Two Days After His Suicide, As Found by his Eight-Year-Old Brother, Grady" by Robert Swartwood. Published in PANK Magazine, April 2010.

4amysisson
Jul 1, 2015, 7:41 pm

Here it is July 1, beginning of the second half of the year, and I'm probably not going to log a story today. Today I've read two novel chapters and two short stories for my in-person critique group, five flash fiction stories for one contest I entered (several of us shared after the deadline closed, to see how we all handled the same prompt), and five stories for a peer-judged anonymous contest (with many more to go in that one). Tonight my in-person group meets.

I am sick of reading and writing for the moment, and my wrists are killing me from being at the computer all day!

Make-up day tomorrow. ;-)

5AnnieMod
Jul 1, 2015, 8:11 pm

You are way ahead of schedule anyway :)

6amysisson
Jul 2, 2015, 6:41 pm

Story #240 (1 in July). "The Man's Smile" by J. Robert DeWitt. Published in Daily Science Fiction, July 1, 2015. Read online 07-02-15.

This flash piece seems to start out as a typical deal-with-the-devil set-up, but it's a bit more than that. Yes, a man is considering making an unthinkable deal in order to get his dead wife back, but the stranger is not quite the devil. Nicely told. I don't think the title is particularly fitting or evocative, though.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/time-travel/j-robert-dewitt/the-m...

7amysisson
Jul 2, 2015, 6:48 pm

Story #241 (2 in July). "A Policy for Visitors at Reynold's Home for Retired Time Travelers" by David Macpherson. Published in Every Day Fiction, July 2, 2015. Read 07-02-15.

Like the story I just read in Daily Science Fiction, this is also flash fiction with a twist. But this one is humorous, and its title is particularly fitting. I enjoyed this quick read.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/a-policy-for-visitors-at-reynolds-home-for-retire...

8amysisson
Editado: Jul 2, 2015, 11:54 pm

Story #242 (3 in July). "Through a Window" by Angela Johnson. Published in On the Fringe, edited by Donald R. Gallo. Anthology and stories published in 2001. Read in print book 07-02-15.

This story is narrated by Nia, whose best friend Chris has committed suicide by hanging himself in school. It's heartfelt, but it didn't entirely work for me for a couple of reasons. One, I find it hard to believe that nobody except Nia, not even Chris's teachers, could remember his name. Second, it just tried a little too hard. For instance:

I never told Nick those records bothered me. Now I wish I had, 'cause at least it would have been one more conversation we had had.

I know grief isn't rationale, but this still isn't something I can imagine someone thinking in grief -- to me, it sounds more writerly than real.

Oh, and this is another one where the title bears no relation to the story that I can see.

9elenchus
Jul 2, 2015, 8:47 pm

>8 amysisson:

So read 06-28-15 but counting it in July since that's when you documented it?

10amysisson
Jul 2, 2015, 11:54 pm

>9 elenchus:

Whoops, no, that's a cut and paste error. Fixing now.....

11amysisson
Editado: Jul 3, 2015, 12:31 pm

Story #243 (4 in July). "How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps" by A. Merc Rustad. Published on Glittership (podcasts), April 2015; originally published in Scigentasy, March 2014. Listened online 07-02-15.

This was my first time listening to a podcast on Glittership, which features LGBTQ speculative fiction. This story is narrated by Keffy R. M. Kehrli, the site's owner and editor.

I didn't realize when I started how long the story would be with the introductory material. Together, it was almost 40 minutes long, and I have a short attention span.

But I loved this story.

Tesla is a young woman who thinks she's probably asexual. She also believes herself to be in love with a robot -- a straight-forward service robot that works behind a counter in a coffee shop -- but actually Tesla wants to be a robot. The story is told in a series of lists interspersed with the narrative action, most of which involves Tesla's relationship with her fake boyfriend and his new, real boyfriend. Before the story is over, we've dealt with sexuality, depression, intolerance, suicide ideation, becoming-a-robot ideation, coping mechanisms, friendship, nontraditional relationships, and more.

In a way, the format of the story does what Tesla hopes to accomplish by becoming a robot: providing emotional distance. The reader (listener) does feel the emotions that go along with witnessing someone in pain, but Tesla herself is trying to relate thoughts and events with the to-her enviable emotionlessness of a robot. It's extremely well-done. I also thought that Keffy Kehrli's reading was just right, with a matter-of-fact tone that perfectly suited the subject matter.

Podcast here (with full transcript): http://www.glittership.com/2015/04/02/episode-1-how-to-become-a-robot-in-12-easy...

12amysisson
Jul 3, 2015, 12:41 pm

Story #244 (5 in July). "The Princess in the Basement" by Hope Erica Schultz. Published in Diabolical Plots, June 2015. Read 07-03-15.

This is a pleasant, modern fairy tale, primarily "Sleeping Beauty," I believe, with a little more than usual agency for the princess. It was nice to read but I wasn't sure if I agreed that the princess did quite as much of the rescuing herself as the story told us she did. I guess she did, in a way. I'm glad I read it but I'm not sure this will stick with me.

Link: http://www.diabolicalplots.com/dp-fiction-4-the-princess-in-the-basement-by-hope...

13amysisson
Editado: Jul 24, 2015, 12:06 am

Story #245 (6 in July). "Deus Ex Homine" by Hannu Rajaniemi. Published in Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction (collection). Collection published 2015; story originally published in 2005 in Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction, edited by Neil Williamson and Andrew J. Wilson. Read in print book 07-05-15.

Even though I started and stopped reading author's first novel some time ago, I somehow had the feeling that I would really like this collection. This is the first story in it I've read, and I was surprised to learn just now that I already had this story in the Nova Scotia anthology referenced above. If I had first read the story there, I would have felt even more confident buying this collection, because I really liked this. I hope the rest of the collection holds up for me. I'm actually going to read this one straight through in order, because I have the feeling it's particularly intended to be read that way. I don't mean I'll race through it without reading other short fiction elsewhere, but I'd like to finish this in the month of July, to really get a cohesive picture of this author's short fiction.

Anyway, this story is about a former "god," or AI-enhanced/infected (depending how you look at it) human who was "cured" by the benevolent AIs that have taken over to protect humanity from the very creatures they themselves created. This young man, named Jukka, visits his former lover Aileen, who is back from the war front, where she serves as an enhanced soldier fighting to kill the type of god that Jukka used to be.

What I loved about this story was the subtlety and complexity of the world-building. The reader is left to figure out an awful lot on his or her own, and I honestly wouldn't have minded a little more explanation, but it wasn't so dense or obscure that I felt frustrated. This is rich, idea-driven, setting-driven, and (to an extent) character-driven science fiction. This is why I read SF in the first place.

Oh, I should mention that the author is Finnish. I think the story takes place there, but I would have to look up some place names to be sure.

14amysisson
Editado: Jul 6, 2015, 10:23 am

Story #246 (7 in July). "World Away" by Alan Garth. Published in Perihelion, June 2015. Read online 07-06-15.

This story had lots of stuff that I love; it's hard SF with realistic science, it has a generational ship, and it has several turns of phrase that I found striking. I even liked that the main character is chafing at her life aboard the generational ship, especially as she can't expect to live long enough to reach their destination. However, I had a major problem with the main character's motivation and specific actions. MAJOR SPOILER. She and her EVA-partner have an argument over something silly, but because they have history -- she's rejected him as a potential mate -- it escalates quickly. "She yanked the safety line between them, pulling herself within range; she batted at his chest, bouncing a little with the reaction to each blow."

Just what is she trying to accomplish? There is nothing to be gained by physical contact in EVA suits! So then he shoves her and she tumbles away, still attached to him by a tether. She yells another insult at him, and he goes to unhook his tether, which she sees, so she unhooks it first. Yeah, that'll show him, as she tumbles off into space and dies!


I don't mean to be so snarky, but it's hard to feel empathetic towards two characters who both behave like idiots.

On the prose level, I did generally like the writing, although there were also a couple of places where the past perfect tense seemed, to me, to be applied to the wrong sentence.

Link: http://www.perihelionsf.com/1506/fiction_8.htm

15amysisson
Jul 6, 2015, 10:45 am

Story #247 (8 in July). "Not a Bird" by H.E. Roulo. Published in Diabolical Plots, July 2015. Read online 07-06-15.

Partway through this story, I wasn't sure if I would like it; I was losing patience with the mother who suddenly regrets the genetic modifications she and her husband have had bestowed upon their daughter pre-birth. But by the time I reached the end of the story, I was quite moved by it (and this is speaking as someone who has never wanted to have children). I'm always impressed when a story this short can be this affecting. My only minor quibble is that I didn't see what possible benefit the baby's feathers would confer, but I'll admit that that modification did add to the story's imagery.

Link: http://www.diabolicalplots.com/dp-fiction-5-not-a-bird-by-h-e-roulo/

16amysisson
Editado: Jul 24, 2015, 12:06 am

248. (9 in July). "The Server and the Dragon" by Hannu Rajaniemi. Published in Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction (collection). Collection published 2015; story originally published in 2010 in Engineering Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan. Read in print book 07-07-15.

I can see the appeal of this story for those who like hard SF and artificial intelligence, but it was a bit too abstract for my tastes. A "server" arrives at a star and harvests that solar system to create itself, essentially, but is distressed to learn that it is shooting outward from the spiral galaxy where a vast network exists, and it's therefore essentially alone with nobody and nothing to serve.

Funny, when I write out the plot description like that, I love the idea, but I found the execution a little sterile somehow.

17amysisson
Jul 7, 2015, 11:41 pm

Story #249 (10 in July). "Your Past Life Interferes With My Very Important Studies" by C.L. Holland. Published in Flash Fiction Online, July 2015. Read online 07-07-15.

This is a charming, humorous flash fiction piece told in brief notes from one character to another.

Link: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/your-past-life-interferes-with-my-ver...

18amysisson
Jul 8, 2015, 1:24 pm

Story #250 (11 in July). "The Anarchist's Guide to Fine Art" by J.C. Nathans. Published in Mash Stories, July 1, 2015. Read online 07-08-15.

OK, this needs a bit of context. I just submitted an entry to the Mash Stories contest, in which you take three prompt words and write a flash story of 500 words or less, using those three words in their exact form (no changing tenses, etc.). The prompts this time are: art, congress, jealousy. The winning story gets $100, while short-listed stories are published (without pay) on the website on a rolling basis, and then there's a voting period.

I note the short-listed published stories do not receive any pay, which will discourage a lot of writers from entering. I think they should reduce that $100 if they have to for the winner, and pay at least a token amount ($5) to all short-listed and therefore published stories. But in any case.... I wanted to make sure I submitted my entry before reading any others so I wouldn't be influenced, and boy, it's a good thing I did that. Because this particular story was quite good, and might have discouraged me from trying!

It's not that the idea of artistic censorship is new, but it's the way this story is told that got me. It uses a number countdown in a unique way, and also is probably better read from bottom to top (on the paragraph level, I mean -- you don't have to read it backwards word-for-word). So it's really fun to read the story first one way, and then the other.

Kudos to the author!

Link: http://mashstories.com/shortlist/anarchists-guide-fine-art/

19amysisson
Jul 9, 2015, 9:50 am

Story #251 (12 in July). "The Keepsake" by Gary Cuba. Published on QuarterReads; originally publised in SF Comet. Read online 07-09-15.

In this story, a man keeps an old hand-made glass object that belonged to his grandmother; this object is eventually passed down into the far, far future.

I have to admit I had to keep myself from skimming this story. It was a little "academic" for my taste, by which I mean sort of emotionless and removed. (I'm not sure I'm using the word "academic" correctly in that context, but that's the word that jumped into my head.)

Link (free this week): https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=1394

20elenchus
Jul 9, 2015, 9:59 am

>18 amysisson:

Wow, such realisation. Let us know if yours gets up there!

21amysisson
Editado: Jul 14, 2015, 12:03 am

Story #252 (13 in July). "Green Fairies on a Starry Night" by Caroline M. Yoachim. Published on QuarterReads; originally published Kazka Press: 713 Flash Fiction. Read online 07-11-15.

Alas, this flash fiction piece did not work for me. It's about fairies, but that's all I can say. In spite of absolutely gorgeous language, I haven't the slightest idea what happened in this story. It's all metaphor.

Behind the QuarterReads paywall here: https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=1250

22amysisson
Editado: Jul 12, 2015, 6:51 pm

Story #253 (14 in July). "Alive, Alive Oh" by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley. Published in Lightspeed, June 2013. Read online 07-12-15.

Another piece that pushes all the right buttons for me. In this story, a woman describes raising her daughter on a toxic, sterile alien planet, although it was never her intention to do so. The child finds stories of the sounds and smells and sights on a planet where you can actually walk outside to be fascinating and unreal, with tragic consequences.

One of the things I liked about this is that it reminds me that we really don't know much about surviving on other worlds, and even if we can do it, will there be much quality of life if we have to constantly protect ourselves and hardly interact with the environment? On the one hand, I've read plenty of stories where people are perfectly happy living in their protected environment, as with Arthur C. Clarke's Imperial Earth. On the other hand, maybe only the people born to that kind of existence can be at peace with it, and maybe not even them as long a there are unhappy people around them remembering lost possibilities and experiences.

ETA: oops, should have mentioned that this story was a Nebula Award finalist.

Link: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/alive-alive-oh/

23amysisson
Editado: Jul 21, 2015, 1:31 pm

Story #254 (15 in July). "Life on Earth" by Lisa Shapter. Published in Expanded Horizons, January 2015. Read online 07-13-15.

The bones of this story are things that I like, namely military science fiction and a future showing same-sex marriage as accepted. I'm afraid this didn't work for me, however. I gather this is part of a larger overall narrative, and I felt confused throughout the story as to the rules and structure of the military service the two men belonged to. I also was distracted by a large number of grammar and punctuation errors.

Link: http://expandedhorizons.net/magazine/?page_id=3643

24amysisson
Jul 14, 2015, 12:06 am

Story #255 (16 in July). "As Skinny Does" by Adele Griffin. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 07-13-15.

This story is about two high school sophomores who diet so much to attend a swanky Sweet Sixteen party that they feel too sick to enjoy themselves. On the one hand, this was just a little too preachy, and they learned their lesson too quickly and easily for my taste. On the other hand, the author achieves a lovely, natural storytelling voice, which is why I gave it a higher rating than I would have otherwise.

As a side note, it's refreshing to read some mainstream short stories in amidst all this science fiction and fantasy!

25amysisson
Editado: Jul 24, 2015, 12:01 am

Story #256 (17 in July). "Tyche and the Ants" by Hannu Rajaniemi. Published in Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction (collection). Collection published 2015; story originally published in 2013 in Edge of Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan. Read in print book 07-14-15.

Reading this story made me feel a little bit like I'm reading Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, although in reality there's little resemblance. But this story is strange and alien and almost a little musical. Tyche lives on the moon with only the Brain and her strange creature friends, who may or may not be imaginary, for company. One day, she encounters some "ants," and they seem to be related to the Great Wrong Place that hangs in the sky.

It's actually really hard to say what's so great about this story, but when I finished it, I knew that I loved it.

26amysisson
Jul 15, 2015, 5:17 pm

Story #257 (18 in July). "Dreamboat" by Robin Wyatt Dunn. Published in Perihelion, July 2015. Read 07-15-15.

In this story, a far-future enhanced-human astronaut has difficult telling dreams from reality. In many ways, there's not a lot of plot here, but I found the writing compelling.

Link: http://www.perihelionsf.com/1507/fiction_11.htm

27amysisson
Jul 17, 2015, 5:23 pm

Story #258 (19 in July). "Galaxy Gals" by merriman. Fan fiction, published on the Archive of Our Own website, December 2014. Read 07-16-15.

So this was something a little different for me. A friend posted a list of her favorite fan fiction, and this story about Gwen DeMarco and Laliari being interviewed -- and not about their uniforms and how well their boobs fit into their suits -- after "Galaxy Quest" goes back on the air.

I debated posting this as part of my short-story-a-day reading, but decided to do so for several reasons. The story technically is "published" even though it's not authorized. I'm ahead of my reading for the year anyway, so including this doesn't feel like I'm short-changing my other story reading. And I've been meaning to explore more fan fiction anyway.

This was a fun story. It seemed to me that the author got Gwen's "voice" down quite well, as well as Laliari's adorably clueless character. The story didn't leave me feeling entirely satisfied -- I'm not sure what else I wanted from it, but there was something I felt was missing. But it was fun, and written by someone who obviously loves the franchise without being too much of a gushy fan in the fiction itself.

Link: http://archiveofourown.org/collections/yuletide2014/works/2800148

28amysisson
Editado: Jul 21, 2015, 1:27 pm

Story #259 (20 in July). "The Haunting of Apollo A7LB" by Hannu Rajaniemi. Published in Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction. Story and collection published in 2015. Read in print book 07-20-15.

The story appears to be original to the collection; it's about a woman who once helped hand-stitch spacesuits, and who is awakened one night in her later years by a man at her front door who is wearing one of the suits and who claims it is haunted. At first I felt the story was gimmicky but it ended up having more layers and more complexity than I'd expected, and was really quite lovely.

29amysisson
Editado: Jul 24, 2015, 12:06 am

Story #260 (21 in July). "His Master's Voice" by Hannu Rajaniemi. Published in Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction (collection). Collection published 2015; story originally published in 2008 in Interzone. Read in print book 07-20-15.

I can't claim that I'm sure I understand all the nuances of this story, but I loved reading it regardless. This author makes the reader work a little bit, but not in an arrogant way, if that makes sense. And out of the five stories I've read in this book, I can say that every last one of them has been carefully crafted and very interesting.

This story is told from the point of view of what was once a normal dog, but is now an enhanced-intelligence version of its former self. It's master lives on a former oil rig that is legally its own nation, and the dog and a cat are quite happy there, doing dog and cat things by day and having oddly instructive dreams by night. One day a "wrong" version of the master also appears, and the reader learns that cloning (both bodies and consciousness, I think) are illegal. This is a strange, strange story. I really envy the author his imagination and his ability to bring his ideas to life.

30amysisson
Jul 21, 2015, 1:30 pm

Story #261 (22 in July). "The Little Thing in the Bottle" by S.R. Mastrantone. Published on QuarterReads. Read online 07-21-15.

This week's free QuarterReads story is about parents on a cruise with their two children, who fantasize about dinner about how their lives might be better without their attention-consuming, bratty son. Predictable in many ways, but nicely written. The one thing that threw me is that the narrator (the husband) mentioned "other parent-robots," and since I'm so in tune with science fiction, for a few moments I thought that was literal instead of figurative. But it's a mainstream story, not science fiction!

Link (free this week): https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=908

31amysisson
Editado: Jul 22, 2015, 7:13 pm

Story #262. (23 in July) - July 20, 2015 - "Rachel's Vampire" by Paul Zindel. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 07-22-15.

This was a bizarre story. A young woman, whose culture I can't identify, is heartbroken when her tribal lover leaves her for his arranged marriage. She dreams of a vampire creature. She asks her academic father to send her home from the jungle where he has been studying the boy's tribe. (She's an "intern" but it's unclear what she's doing there other than having sex.) She keeps worrying about encountering her vampire creature from her dreams. On the way back home down a river, she and her guides come across people who've just finished slaughtering an entire family because they were supposedly on the verge of metamorphosis into winged creatures. She sees a newborn baby still living among the victims. She asks if she can take the baby far away. She has no food for an infant and so gives it her blood to drink, so it's her vampire.

?????

Wow, she seemed oddly unconcerned about the slaughter!

The subtitle of this anthology is "Award-winning authors sharing real-life experiences through fiction." Um, no. In his foreward to this particular story, the author says that he knew a girl named Rachel from South America, and that she "told me the account that follows. It's the true story of a lesson she learned about -- well, she said it was about dating -- going steady with a native boy far up in the rain forest of the Amazon jungle. It had to do with intense feelings of a girl for a boy, and how she managed to recover from a hurting heart."

Really? So.... did she keep this little baby? This really happened, and the slaughter is still no big deal? This seems a bit of a stretch for a book in which the author is supposedly sharing real-life experience (which most people would take to mean the author's own experience). Since the stories are all original to this anthology, I have to guess that they solicited the stories, and in the case of this big-name-in-YA-literature author, they felt they had to accept it even though it completely does not fit the anthology's scope.

Grumble.

32amysisson
Jul 22, 2015, 8:49 pm

Story #263 (24 in July). "Food, Glorious Food" by Joey To. Published in Perihelion, July 2015. Read online 07-15-15.

This story consists of a recorded log by an insectoid alien species that is looking for a food source and has found some human spaceships. It's not badly written, but I didn't find it original, and I felt it went on a little too long for the concept. I didn't find it as funny as I think it was intended to be.

Link: http://www.perihelionsf.com/1507/fiction_2.htm

33amysisson
Jul 23, 2015, 1:08 pm

Story #264 (25 in July). "A Certain Future" by Karl Lykken. Published in Every Day Fiction, July 22, 2015. Read online 07-23-15.

In this mainstream flash piece, a young woman confronts the fortune teller about the harm his phone predictions can do. Interesting, but didn't quite work for me.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/a-certain-future-by-karl-lykken/

34amysisson
Jul 24, 2015, 12:03 am

Story #265 (26 in July). "Non-Zero Probabilities" by N.K. Jemisin. Published in The Mammoth Book of Nebula Awards: SF, edited by Kevin J. Anderson. Anthology published 2011; story originally published in Clarkesworld, November 2009. Read in print book 07-23-15.

In this Nebula Award finalist short story, Adele, like many of her fellow city residents, accepts the fact that improbable events are happening more often than they should in New York. They don't know if it's luck or God or the gods, but it simply has become reality, and it may not be an entirely bad thing. I found this to be quite an interesting story.

35amysisson
Editado: Jul 25, 2015, 4:22 pm

Story #266 (27 in July). "Testing" by Tamora Pierce. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 07-25-15.

As I've been exploring various anthologies from my own bookshelves, there have been several that I've given up on pretty quickly, and I think I've just learned that I need to be more careful. I rated the two stories I'd read from this anthology earlier this month at three and one stars, respectively. I thought I'd read one more and see how I liked it, and perhaps discard the book if it was another bad or even mediocre story. And instead I absolutely loved it.

I know Tamora Pierce's name, but have not read anything by her before, to the best of my knowledge. I've always thought of her as a fantasy writer, perhaps for young adults. Ironically, especially given that I read so many genre stories, this particular story is not fantasy or science fiction but instead 100% mainstream. Yet it makes me want to seek out her other work, no matter what genre it's in.

The story is told from the POV of a a resident in a group home for troubled teenage girls. The residence has two housemothers that alternate weeks; the narrator and her fellow residents are fond of long-time housemother Renee, but when the other housemother leaves to get married, the girls "test" new housemothers and usually drive them out within a week with their shenanigans. Then "X-ray" shows up, so nicknamed by the girls because she's so nondescript and colorless that they think of her as invisible. But it turns out there's a lot more to X-ray than meets the eye.

What did I love about this story? I love the characters, and I love the way X-ray deals with the girls. She's human so she reacts in a realistic way to the girls' tricks, especially the more mean-spirited ones, but she also knows that she's being tested.

I also like the author's story introduction. Unlike the Paul Zindel story in this same anthology, this really is based on her experiences working as a house mother for a group home. Yet she made the story from a resident's POV instead of the housemother's POV, which I think works much better.

I'm sure there are still some anthologies that I will give up on after only three or four stories -- sometimes you can just tell the editor's taste doesn't gel with your own. But I think that applies more for reprint anthologies, when the editor can choose only stories her or she really likes, instead of being obligated to accept some contracted but not yet written stories from name authors.

This anthology, in any case, gets a reprieve. :-)

36amysisson
Jul 26, 2015, 7:23 pm

Story #267 (28 in July). "This is Telepathy" by Megan Neumann. Published in Daily Science Fiction, July 14, 2015. Read online 07-26-15.

I liked the set-up of this flash piece, in which a woman illegally injects herself with nanotechnology in order to become temporarily "teleopathic," or able to connect directly to the online world with her brain, and process the information at the corresponding speeds. But this story felt incomplete, even as a vignette. It needed just a little bit more -- not enough to make it a full blown Story, but enough to make it ... enough.

Although I can see how readers' mileage will vary on that point.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/virtual-reality/megan-neumann/thi...

37amysisson
Jul 29, 2015, 10:20 am

Story #268 (29 in July). "Endgame" by Barry Charman. Published in Daily Science Fiction, July 29, 2015. Read online 07-29-15.

This is a tidy little thought piece on what might signify the onset of the singularity. I wouldn't have minded if it had gone a little further.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/science-fiction/robots-and-computers/barry-charman/e...

38amysisson
Jul 29, 2015, 10:33 am

Story #269 (30 in July). "Can't Do It" by Tom Hadrava. Published in Every Day Fiction, July 28, 2015. Read online 07-29-15.

This flash story is narrated by a person about to dissect what I presume is the first alien species encountered by humans. Some nice description, and an interesting angle.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/cant-do-it-by-tom-hadrava/

39amysisson
Editado: Jul 29, 2015, 2:31 pm

Story #270 (31 in July). "The Butterfly Disjunct" by Stewart C. Baker. Published on QuarterReads. Read online 07-29-15.

This was an interesting story, in which a child becomes a guardian of a sort, integrated with a virtual tree in which she must eliminate the virtual butterflies that seem to represent the chaos of realities that are created by different actions and choices (a reference to the "butterfly effect," I'm assuming).

I like the idea and some of the imagery, but the story remained a little too abstract for my taste. I also felt that her motivation for not letting Marin die (assuming that's what was really happening) was insufficient -- if all it took was becoming attached to one's mentor for his or her kindness, wouldn't this happen every time? Or maybe it did happen every time and that was the oint -- but if that's the case, again, a little too obscure for me. I did think it was clear that the tree guardian becomes the mentor eventually, but whether it always happens due to the kind of decision Jenya made, I couldn't say, and I didn't want to re-read to try and puzzle it out.

Free on QuarterReads this week: https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=595

40amysisson
Editado: Jul 29, 2015, 8:22 pm

Story #271 (32 in July). "The Itch" by Lisa Finch. Published in Mash Stories, July 1, 2015. Read online 07-29-15.

This is another entry in this quarter's flash fiction (less than 500 words) contest requiring the use of the words congress, art, and jealousy. It's a mainstream piece about marriage and getting older, and I think it's just lovely.

Link: http://mashstories.com/shortlist/itch/

41amysisson
Jul 29, 2015, 8:25 pm

Please forgive today's all-flash-fiction catch-up roster! I had four wisdom teeth pulled on Monday (something that was decided and scheduled only last Friday), and I'm still on the mend. Flash is about all I can handle right now, especially because the meds have me feeling a little dopey.

42elenchus
Jul 29, 2015, 9:12 pm

I hadn't noticed the flash-heavy roster (or anyway, you tend to go in runs), and you're still reading more than I am even on the drugs!

Hope the recovery's quick.

43amysisson
Jul 29, 2015, 9:20 pm

Thank goodness I'm self-employed now, because this would be a full week off work otherwise! (And in my last job, they combined sick leave and vacation, and gave us less of both!)

44amysisson
Jul 29, 2015, 9:23 pm

Story #272 (33 in July). "Sirocco Catches Marl" by Bokerah Brumley. Published in Mash Stories, June 11, 2015. Read online 07-29-15.

Also in the same Mash Stories contest as the last story I read, this one is a science fiction snippet about a woman who blackmails an alien into introducing a law to "arrest slavers on sight, giving a lifetime punishment."

I'm afraid I found this both clumsy and a little heavy-handed. He can introduce the law all he wants, but I doubt that means the Planetary Congress will automatically pass it. And maybe the bad guy's name "Marl" is too similar to "Mal" for me, but this felt like it was going for Firefly vibe that didn't quite work.

Link: http://mashstories.com/shortlist/siraccio-catches-marl/

45AnnieMod
Jul 29, 2015, 10:11 pm

Speedy recovery!

46amysisson
Jul 30, 2015, 1:53 am

>42 elenchus:
>45 AnnieMod:

Thanks to you both!

47amysisson
Jul 30, 2015, 7:27 pm

Story #273 (34 in July). "And Now, Playing Us Out, The Sweet Sounds Of Legendary Jazz Trumpeter UNCO-895i" by Paul A. Hamilton. Published in Freeze Frame Fiction, q5 vol. v., July 2015. Read online 07-30-15.

This flash piece is from the POV of an ayndroud (I kind of liked that), or a built-born creature that's enhanced, and specifically enhanced to have emotions. It's playing soulful jazz, apparently in the vicinity of a star that's about to go nova. I thought this was ambitious and nicely stylistic, but that it perhaps tried a little too hard. And it didn't make sense to me that other lifeforms -- silicate and boron-based creatures -- don't have to worry about the nova just because they're "in hostile environments everywhere they go on this backwater outpost." To me, that means they can't breathe naturally in the atomspheres in this system, but why does that mean they'll either 1) survive a star going nova, or 2) don't care, and are about to let themselves be killed? It doesn't follow logically, and seems to be set up so that the narrator will have some company while telling us his sad story.

Link: http://freezeframefiction.com/read/q5-flash-fiction/and-now-playing-us-out-by-pa...

48amysisson
Jul 31, 2015, 1:15 am

Story #274 (35 in July). "Noted" by Steffany Willey. Published in Every Day Fiction, July 30, 2015. Read online 07-31-15.

This is a mainstream short in which two women notice a girl waving at them from the window of a house that has gone to seed in their neighborhood. A surly man comes out of the house and clearly wants them to move on and mind their own business. They're not sure what to do, wondering if the girl is in danger.

This was thoughtful, and there were some very nice phrases, but also a noticeable number of clunky spots in the writing.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/noted-by-steffany-willey/

49amysisson
Jul 31, 2015, 10:02 am

July round-up posted here. I've leaving out the Hannu Rajaniemi stories because his collection is worth a post all its own, I think.

http://amysreviews.blogspot.com/2015/07/short-fiction-july-2015.html

50amysisson
Editado: Ago 4, 2015, 3:16 pm

Story #275 (1 in August). "Thirteen Diddles" by Jon Scieszka. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 08-02-15.

I've given this a high rating because I think it's brilliant for what it is, but it neither fits this anthology's theme, nor constitutes a short story by any stretch of the imagination.

But as mentioned, it's brilliant for what it is.

Jon Scieszka takes the nursery rhyme of "Hey Diddle Diddle" and then converts it into 12 other forms -- of poetry, of flash fiction, of writing exercise. Part of the fun lies in identifying what each form is supposed to be, so I won't list them here. The author actually includes a "pop quiz" at the end in which he himself identifies the forms.

I will admit that his intro to the selection, which I read last, annoyed me a little. He essentially admits that he runs up against deadlines, can't figure out what to write, and then throws something together. He puts it a little more nicely than that -- I mean, he did obviously put some thought into this -- but I get turned off by authors who in a way come across as bragging that they can throw something together at the last minute. Neil Gaiman once wrote in a story intro that he'd "written" his story while waiting for luggage at the airport, and I felt it was a little insulting to the publisher and reader, as in "you people will like anything I write, won't you?" (I'm probably a little oversensitive in that regard.)

And of course, this had absolutely zero to do with the anthology's stated purpose, in which "Award-winning authors {share} real-life experiences through fiction" -- although Scieszka notes that he wrote this in part because he'd read and always loved a similar exercise. But that's not real life.

51amysisson
Editado: Ago 2, 2015, 7:01 pm

Story #276 (2 in August). "Sproing!" by Joan Abelove. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 08-02-15.

Based on the writing itself, I would have only given this story 2 1/2 stars, but it was heartfelt and I liked the idea behind it. A college freshman who is painfully shy has trouble making her first friend; she's looking for that person who makes her think "Sproing! I like her!" instead of "Sproing! I hate her!", which is the reaction she has (and rightfully so) to her roommate. The writing itself was a little too stream-of-consciousness for me, but I liked the story more than not, overall. I also liked that the author, in her introduction, related the story directly to her own experience. (I'm not sure why it's so important to me that the stories in this anthology match the stated purpose, but for some reason it is.)

52amysisson
Ago 2, 2015, 7:52 pm

Story #277 (3 in August). "The World of Darkness" by Lois Metzger. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 08-02-15.

This was an average story about a high school freshman who's devastated because her best friend plans to study abroad in Asia for her sophomore and junior years. Gail feels betrayed and abandoned. During a biology field trip to the zoo, however, she draws a zookeeper's attention to a bat that is in distress, and somehow (I have no idea how), this leads to an epiphany that her friend hasn't actually betrayed her.

The author notes that the bat incident is based on real life, and that it was important for her. That was my favorite part of the story; I just didn't particularly care for the main character and her "dilemma" didn't ring true. I mean, I completely understand that for high school students, a best friend moving away is a really big deal. But I think it was hard for me to empathize because when I was a high school sophomore, I got a scholarship to study abroad for my junior year. My best friend was a year older, so that meant I missed her senior year -- and she was happy for me. Heck, she even came on a school trip that my school's German teacher organized, and so we got to spend a week together sharing the adventure! (My family came on that trip too. One of the best weeks of my life.)

53amysisson
Ago 3, 2015, 9:41 pm

Story #278 (4 in August). "He Who Watches" by Alex Shvartsman. Published in Fireside, July 2015. Read online 08-03-15.

I enjoy post-apocalyptic, post-nuclear-war stories for the most part, but this one didn't quite work for me. I found the ending kind of silly, even though I could sense (I think) what the story was going for. I also didn't quite buy that the drones would work flawlessly for 20 years, or that Andrew would be able to follow particular lives that closely.

Good first line for the story, though: On the twentieth anniversary of the end of the world, Andrew lit a candle. And the story was well written on the prose level, as is always the case with this author.

Link: http://www.firesidefiction.com/issue26/chapter/he-who-watches/

54amysisson
Ago 4, 2015, 2:57 pm

Story #279 (5 in August). "Four Seasons in the Forest of Your Mind" by Caroline M. Yoachim. Published in F&SF, May/June 2015. Read in print magazine 08-04-15.

Caroline M. Yoachim is one of my favorite short story writers. While of course I'm not guaranteed to love every story, I can always be assured of interesting, good writing ... and quite often I do fall in love with the story. With this one, at least, I experienced very strong "like." I'd go on a second date with this story. :-)

The narrator is a tiny creature, one of many that make up a large collective, that tends a particular "tree" in the prefrontal cortex of someone's brain, the "you" to which the narrator sometimes refers. This creature lovingly tends the brain, trying to make sure that everything is healthy and synapses can fire as they should, without changing the person's personality or thoughts. Gradually we learn that this parasitic existence is the only way in which this species can hope to leave its own planet, but it knows that its planet has been quarantined by some alien species that have identified what happens. Humans, as it happens, are too young and Earth is actually within the quarantine zone (it's only 13 light years from Earth to this planet), so they don't realize what is happening.

I think my only quibble is that I feel as though the humans' sensors should have detected, from orbit, the weird tower structure that is literally made up of creatures with which the parasites have tried and failed to achieve a lasting harmony. But the writing in lovely, and overall I found this to be an effective and interesting story.

55amysisson
Ago 4, 2015, 11:54 pm

Story #280 (6 in August). "The Ladies' Aquatic Gardening Society" by Henry Lien. Published in Asimov's, June 2015. Read in print magazine 08-04-15.

This novelette is inventive and clever. It's about two summer society ladies in Newport, Rhode Island, doing battle via increasingly elaborate gardens to capture the attention and affections of Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt. The story has nine chapters, each preceded by a description of the latest skimish between the two ladies and a mention of which lady prevails in that round.

I enjoyed the story, but felt is was about a third longer than it needed to be. There were also some sentences that I had to read twice to parse, and I had the feeling that the story was not as funny as it might have been. Still, I admire it for its originality, and I'm glad I read it.

56amysisson
Editado: Set 8, 2015, 3:25 pm

Story #281 (7 in August). "Duel Identities" by David Lubar. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 08-05-15.

This is a solid, satisfying, mainstream YA story about bullying and revenge, with a comparatively light-hearted style. In gym class, a teenage boy makes the social gaffe of saying he plans to go out for fencing in the winter and tennis in the spring, and is immediately called all the usual homosexual slurs by most of his peers. He sticks to his guns (or épées), however, and does go out for the fencing team when the time comes -- and is surprised to find that some friends have joined him. They have a good-hearted new coach with no fencing experience, which means they lose most of their matches. There's a bit of a side story in which the main character is disturbed that some of his teammates think nothing of cheating, but in the end the story gets back to the main point. When one of the school bullies roughs up his teammate in the locker room, the main character intervenes. The bully challenges the main character to a "sword fight," thinking there's nothing to it, and the main character beats him handily.

The author notes that most of the story is based on his real experiences. It's always enjoyable to see the underdog win, of course, and I really enjoyed the extra details that made this story seem so realistic.

57amysisson
Ago 13, 2015, 12:45 am

Story #282 (8 in August). "Final Cut" by Rich Wallace. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 08-12-15.

Quite a bit behind, due to a trip to Vegas for a wedding, and a continuance of wisdom teeth issues. (Also got back from Vegas to find our air conditioner out -- in August, in Houston -- so now am in a pet-friendly hotel room with our two most heat-vulnerable cats, while my (amazing) husband is at home taking care of the others.)

Eased back into it with this solid story about a high school senior trying out for his last season of basketball, while knowing that his coach has a tendency to cut the older average players to make room for younger kids that may have more potential. Even before reading the author's introduction, I could tell this was based on his experiences. I like sports stories that take sports seriously (one of the reasons that I've adored several of Chris Crutcher's books).

This anthology is turning out to be quite strong overall.

58amysisson
Editado: Ago 13, 2015, 1:32 am

Story #283 (9 in August). "Road Test" by KJ Kabza. Published in Daily Science Fiction, August 13, 2015. Read online 8-13-15.

This is an extremely short flash story, set in a place where a person must pass a physical prowess test (i.e. how fast you can run a mile) to determine what, if any, vehicles you're allowed to drive. I'm afraid I just couldn't buy the set-up, even as a thought exercise. I also felt the story was meant to be a protest against fat-shaming, and it came across a bit heavy-handed to me for that reason.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/science-fiction/future-societies/kj-kabza/road-test

59amysisson
Ago 13, 2015, 9:26 am

Story #284 (10 in August). "Full Circle" by JT Gill. Published in Every Day Fiction, August 12, 2015. Read online 08-13-15.

At around 800 words, this flash piece packs a lot in. It's narrated by a male college student, who is fascinated by an object that is discovered "half buried at the bottom of an ocean trench."

The story's too short to say any more about it, other than I thought it built suspense incredibly well for such a short piece.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/full-circle-by-jt-gill/

60amysisson
Ago 13, 2015, 5:33 pm

Story #285 (11 in August). "How I Saved the Galaxy (on a Limited Budget)" by Aidan Doyle. Published in Every Day Fiction, August 10, 2015. Read online 08-13-15.

Fun piece of sci-fi humor flash.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/robots-and-computers/aidan-doyle/...

61amysisson
Ago 13, 2015, 6:45 pm

Just a note that I'm about to start posting a positive rash of flash fiction stories, as I just received a review copy of a Kindle anthology of 100 shorts. And since I'm stuck here in this hotel room.... ;-)

62amysisson
Editado: Ago 25, 2015, 1:15 am

Story #286 (12 in August). "Blow" by Gerri Leen. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-13-15.

This story is narrated by the not-very-likeable Jeff, who has ducked into the employee's restroom in order to snort coke, and is surprised by his boss, Rick. I found it to be well-written and powerful in that it conveys genuine emotion while remaining consistent with the non-sympathetic main character.

63amysisson
Editado: Ago 14, 2015, 2:32 am

Story #287 (13 in August). "Ballerina" by Jess Kapp. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-14-15.

This is a heartfelt story about a girl who gives up her childhood dream of being a ballerina, in part due to her father's cancer and in part due to his wish that she get a formal education. It didn't quite work for me; it felt as though it was trying too hard, and it also says that she was still considering pursuing ballet as a high school student when the story indicates she'd pretty much already given it up by then. Perhaps it's possible to give up ballet for a few years and still make a go of it, but that's not the impression I have. The best dancing years are very early, and a student won't be accepted to the prestigious training institutions if she doesn't already have impressive training on her "resume." I would think no dancing for a few years would signal a lack of commitment to those who admit students to the high-level training.

I'm probably overthinking this -- it's a flash story, after all. But it just seemed like it was stretching for that tragic "lost dreams" feel.

64amysisson
Ago 14, 2015, 2:52 am

Story #288 (14 in August). "Sexual Liberation for Married Ladies" by April Aasheim. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-14-15.

This was a cute, slightly humorous first-person story by a woman who gets depressed because her computer spyware program thinks she's boring, which she thinks means she's sexually repressed. What I liked about this story was the polished, humorous, slightly self-deprecating voice -- it came across as written by, for instance, an accomplished chick lit novelist. I would have given it four stars had the main character grown/changed a tiny bit more, but the point of the story was really more about her husband loving her the way she already was.

65amysisson
Ago 14, 2015, 4:15 pm

Story #289 (15 in August). "Conspiracy Theory" by William Hertling. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-14-15.

This is a clever piece consisting mainly of conversations between AIs about their origins. I liked the set-up and the conversations, but the ending was a bit abrupt, and because the stories in this anthology have nothing to indicate the end (and e-book paging is always a bit weird to me), I wasn't sure the story was over until I turned the page and saw that the next story was starting.

66elenchus
Ago 14, 2015, 4:31 pm

>65 amysisson:

Heh. Like someone pulled a plug.

I'm still getting accustomed & comfortable with various eBook formats myself. I have zero expectation I'll ever come to prefer electronic to paper formats, but I do expect I'll find a sweet spot with eBooks. Not sure when, though. At the moment, there are too many formats and I'm using a couple of different devices that seem pretty different from one another: old generation nook, PDFs on desktop and on tablet, Kindle app on tablet, and just bought a new(er) Kindle. Probably need to set some habits before I'll know what works better for me.

67AnnieMod
Ago 14, 2015, 4:38 pm

How is your tooth? :)
You are reading a lot lately. I am off short stories just now - just cannot find the mood. Go figure...

68amysisson
Ago 14, 2015, 7:52 pm

>67 AnnieMod:

Alas, I'm on my third round of antibiotics. Both lower wisdom teeth, or rather the places they used to be, are still quite sore, so still on prescription pain meds too. It should clear up in the near future, but the trip to Vegas (smoke everywhere, hotel air conditioning) did not help, nor did coming home to a broken air conditioner, which meant two more nights of hotel rooms.

If only I had one more week of rest time before leaving for Vancouver/Spokane! We leave on Monday. I'm going to do nothing between now and then but a little laundry, and a lot of sleep and reading. :-)

69amysisson
Ago 14, 2015, 7:52 pm

>66 elenchus:

My favorite e-book method is PDF on a my laptop. I'm really surprised Kindle format isn't better worked out yet. I find it clunky as all get out.

70AnnieMod
Ago 14, 2015, 8:13 pm

>69 amysisson:

It depends on how it is formatted actually. There is a way Kindle books to be done properly but most of them are clunky, especially for short stories...

>68 amysisson:

Ugh. Safe travels and hopefully you will get better by the time you make it to the fun activities :)

71amysisson
Editado: Ago 14, 2015, 11:47 pm

Story #290 (16 in August). "Greyback in Blue" by A. Lee Martinez. Published in Robots versus Slime Monsters. Collection and story published in 2013. Read in print book 08-14-15.

This Kickstarted story collection provides an original new short story set in the universes of each of the author's standalone novels. I had rated the novel The Automatic Detective at 4.5 stars, back when I read it in 2013. I'm a sucker for quirky hard-boiled PI tales, and this author combined a funny tone with more emotion than I'd expected.

This short story follows a minor character from the novel, namely a mutated intelligent gorilla named Joseph Jung. As far as Jung knows, he's the only intelligent gorilla trying to make his way in the world, but one day, a greyback in a blue dress walks into his office....

I found this story amusing and quick to read. It felt a tiny bit rushed to me, though, and I wasn't sure how tightly the plot elements here tied into those of the novel. Still quite enjoyable.

I haven't read any of his other novels yet, and I want to read each novel before I read the corresponding short story set in that world, so it will be a while before I return to this collection. But this does give me incentive to move another of the author's novels higher up on my TBR pile. He has quite a unique style.

72amysisson
Editado: Ago 25, 2015, 1:18 am

Story #291 (17 in August). "Aliens at the Flea Market" by M. Earl Smith. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-14-15.

I'm afraid I quite disliked this story, for the following reasons:

1) Overuse of exclamation points (folks' mileage may vary, but this generally signals "inexperienced/unpolished writer" to me)

2) The main character is a prejudiced jerk, in this case against Mexicans (historically) and aliens (in the present), and he does not grow or change in the story. Granted, flash fiction is short, but I don't see the point of having an unlikable main character and have nothing change -- why did I just read that? Nobody learned anything and nothing changed, so what was the actual story?

3) There was an actual logic mistake in the number of shoes that the alien asked for. He pointed at a pair of shoes and asked for "six more like these," so either he meant six more individual shoes (8 total) or six more pairs (14 shoes total). Yet the aliens have twelve sets of limbs and the narrator tells us that all appendages (either 12, or 24 if he really meant "sets" of limbs -- but are those pairs?) must be covered. Granted, the alien might already have had some shoes and was looking to just get the rest of what was needed -- but why I am being distracted with imprecise language (sets of limbs?) and none of these numbers making sense?

4) Seriously, an alien sci-fi story about human baby shoes, in an anthology titled "Baby Shoes"? None of the other stories have had baby shoes in them so far, and neither editor's note indicates that baby shoes was anything like a theme for this anthology. So either the anthology was named after this story was accepted (possible, but seems unlikely), or the author was trying for an extra bit of cleverness when submitting.

Apologies for my snarkiness, but this just rubbed me the wrong way.

73amysisson
Editado: Ago 15, 2015, 12:53 am

Story #292 (18 in August). "Crimson Cotton" by Macy Mixdorf. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-14-15.

This is a mainstream flash piece, in which a narrator walking through New York City sees a woman wearing a crimson-colored scarf, which triggers memories of his lost love.

This didn't work for me for a number of reasons. In my opinion, flash stories are too short for a lot of flashbacks, unless there's a really good reason for them, or the author is somehow deliberately experimenting with story structure to achieve some particular effect.

I also didn't find this story realistic; for instance, the man talks about how he wore his brand-new tux on a first dinner date at a restaurant. I know no person alive who would do this unless attending an invitation-based formal function. Then, just when I was worried that he'd lost her due to death and we were going to get a crimson blood-stain reference (which would have been way too on-the-nose for my taste), instead it just turns out that she leaves him with no explanation after four years of dating. Yes, technically that can happen, and once in a while it probably does, but it's not very common that people leave after years of dating without saying something.

There was also a bit of clunkiness in the writing, such as this sentence: She had a complex mind, but something about her made me admire the simplicity of our love. Grammatically, there's nothing wrong with this, but something about her made me admire our love? It just struck me as quite odd.

I better stop reading for the night as I'm apparently getting harder to please!

74amysisson
Ago 18, 2015, 2:55 pm

Story #293 (19 in August). "The Job" by Joe R. Lansdale. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-15-15.

Two men on their way to a hit job for a crime boss have a conversation.

This one didn't work for me. It's a snippet rather than a story -- which doesn't have to be a bad thing, but it didn't have much to like or by which to be entertained, so I didn't see the point. In addition, it felt like it tried to hard for an "everyman" style of writing. Not only is the dialog simplistic and rough, which I can see is appropriate for the characters, but the sentence structure of the few non-dialog portions is extremely simplistic as well. I think some readers probably find that to be an effective choice, but it didn't work for me because I felt like I could feel the author trying for the effect.

Examples:

Bower pushed the visor back. The light turned green. Kelly put the gas to the car and they went up and over a hill and they turned right on Melroy.

They stopped at a stop sign and Kelly got out a cigarette and pushed in the lighter.

75amysisson
Ago 18, 2015, 4:57 pm

Story #294 (20 in August). "Ask Not for Whom" by Jason D. Wittman. Published in Talesbones 30, Summer 2005. Read in print magazine 08-15-15.

Having read so much flash recently, I was looking for a longer story and thought this was it, based on the starting page number of the next story. But this was actually flash, and not terribly interesting to me. A man in a generic historic European setting (I think) hires a man to create the most impressive clock tower ever built, (I'm going to give away the whole thing here) but kills him once the clock tower is completed so it can never be superseded. But the joke is on him when the clock bells strike for the first time; the first bell kills the man by matching the exact frequency of his heartbeat. Realizing that there are two more bells in the clock tower, the man's wife and daughter flee, but they can't get far enough away in time. The second bell kills the wife, and the third would have killed the daughter -- with whom the clockmaker was sleeping, by the way -- except the fact that she is unknowingly pregnant has changed her heartbeat frequency just enough that she is spared.

I feel this story didn't get a fair read from me in a way, because I was in no mood for clever flash. But I think I still would have been bothered by the fact that I could not see the clockmaker's motivation in killing the wife and especially the daughter with whom he was sleeping. It felt like that motivation was conjured out of nothing, because without it, you couldn't have the twist ending of the clockmaker's own unborn baby thwarting his plans.

76amysisson
Editado: Ago 18, 2015, 5:41 pm

Story #295 (21 in August). "Ruby on the 67" by Ursula K. Le Guin. Published in Unlocking the Air and Other Stories. Collection and story published 1996. Read in print book 08-16-15.

This is a mainstream short story following an elderly woman who's riding on the bus and talking to a friend about her sister's recent fall. It's nicely written, but there's not much too it -- more slice of life than anything else.

77amysisson
Ago 18, 2015, 5:39 pm

Story #296 (22 in August). "A Safe Space" by Joyce Hansen. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 08-17-15.

Yet another strong story in this anthology. It's narrated by an overweight, brainy African American teenager named Lamont who makes two friends upon starting high school: a big kid named Tommy who is the only Caucasian kid in the freshman class, and a girl named Deidre. Their tentative friendship formed the first day of school is cemented a few weeks later when they all happen to join the Writing Club. Lamont writes poetry, mainly about his parents' divorce, but is too shy to share it with the group. Observing how Tommy doesn't care that he looks different than everyone else, Lamont finds his courage.

78amysisson
Editado: Ago 18, 2015, 6:41 pm

Story #297 (23 in August). "Valley of the Black Pig" by Scott Crowder. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-18-15.

This story is from the POV of a sniper in Baghdad, who is about to shoot a suicide bomber knowing that he'll also kill the child the bomber carries on his shoulders as something of a shield.

I felt this was clunky in a few places and a bit heavy-handed (with the term "heartstrings" overused a tad). Structurally, I thought the story would have been more effective in simple chronological order, rather than with a flashback within a flashback, just to get back to the same spot.

79amysisson
Editado: Ago 24, 2015, 3:53 pm

Story #298 (24 in August). "(Not) for Sale" by Barry Koplen. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-18-15.

This was an extremely heartfelt piece, but comes across as not so much a story as a bit of a rambling essay, as a father reflects on his own father's life and his parents' relationship as he's about to escort his own daughter down the aisle. The narrator discusses a letter that his father wrote him when he was a baby, but that he was not given until much later in life. It also mentions the loss of an infant baby sister. The title doesn't make sense to me; as far as I can tell, nobody ever suggests that the letter, or the baby shoes that get a very brief mention at the end of the piece, would or should be for sale.

Because this is so obviously heartfelt, I feel a bit mean-spirited saying this, but I can't help but feel this piece really doesn't belong in this anthology. It gives the impression of being simply the author's personal thoughts and experiences, so does not feel like it has the characters or plot that would make it fiction. It does not come across as polished writing to me, mainly because it feels unorganized.

I also wonder at the inclusion of baby shoes. They make sense in the context of this piece but are so briefly mentioned that I can't help but wonder if they were included due to the "baby shoes" title of the anthology. I've only read nine stories out of the 100 so far, and two mention baby shoes. That's fine if it's really meant to be an anthology about baby shoes, but if it's a matter of authors just deciding on their own that including mention of them would increase their chances of getting into the book, it's a bit strange. Again, without any introduction by the editors, it's hard to determine which if either scenario is correct.

80amysisson
Editado: Ago 25, 2015, 1:19 am

Story #299 (25 in August). "Métier" by John Deal. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-24-15.

For me, this short piece about the soul-crushing tedium of corporate cubicle life is similar to the stories that beginning writers write about how hard it is to write a story. I'm afraid this is neither original nor well-written.

81amysisson
Editado: Ago 24, 2015, 5:52 pm

Story #300 (26 in August). "Queenkiller" by Adam Thomas Gottfried. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-24-15.

This story is from the POV of a man who has beheaded many queens, possibly (or presumably) the wives of Henry VIII. The man doesn't care about anything -- we're told about a half dozen times that he didn't "spare a thought" for the whore he wakes up with, the stable boy, the captain of the guard, the queen he's about to kill, and so on.

If he doesn't care, why should I? It's as though we're supposed to be shocked at the man's cynicism. I just found it boring.

82amysisson
Editado: Ago 25, 2015, 1:20 am

Story #301 (27 in August). "Anika's Fall" by Jennifer Cokeley. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-24-15.

This story is beautifully written on the sentence level, it made little sense to me overall. And it's official, at least some contributors were deliberately planting mention of baby shoes in the stories. In this case, it turns out that a woman who had apparently killed a baby while driving drunk made a deal (with whom, I don't know -- possibly herself) to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train, in order to trade her life for the baby's. But the story starts with her in a hotel room, where she says goodbye, with some agony, to a man she's made love to -- a man who is a stranger to her but feels familiar.

Then, when she tries to step in front of the train, a man (I don't think it's the same man) saves her, but that means she can't save the baby.

It really didn't make any sense. Which is too bad, because line by line, it's probably the best writing I've seen in the book so far.

83amysisson
Ago 24, 2015, 7:31 pm

Story #302 (28 in August). "Class Clown" by Jim Pahz. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-24-15.

This mainstream story meandered quite a bit. A guy who's something of a stoner and slacker is shocked when his girlfriend dumps him, calling him a loser. Then, as he's driving around, he starts driving through raked leaf piles just for the satisfaction of ruining other people's hard work. But a little voice tells him to swerve before hitting the next pile, and he realizes he would have killed two children hiding in the leaves.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with anything else in the story.


On a sentence/paragraph level, I'm afraid this was pretty clunky.

84amysisson
Editado: Ago 25, 2015, 1:23 am

Story #303 (29 in August). "Nightly Sin. Morning Penance." by Maria Clark. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology and stories published in June 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 08-24-15.

Another story that meanders and doesn't make such sense to me, I'm afraid. In this book, a young woman is disgusted by the lust in which she indulges every night. Apologies in advance for the snarkiness that's about to follow, but the story appears to want to make use of as many adjectives as possible, and a few too many semicolons as well.

In the end, someone male pounds on her door. She calls this person Marshall. She readies herself for church. She opens her bedroom door and calls the person standing there "Dad." So ... is her father Marshall or are they two different people? If two people, is she sleeping with Marshall? Sleeping with her father? Is she sleeping with someone else entirely, or just having lustful dreams every night?

Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be deliberate ambiguity on the author's part. But whether or not it's deliberate, it's too frustrating for the reader to be effective.

85elenchus
Ago 26, 2015, 3:44 pm

Recently read about a type of flash fiction, "Dictionary Stories".

86amysisson
Ago 26, 2015, 6:21 pm

>85 elenchus:

Just took a quick glance and that is TOO COOL! I'm definitely going to read that more closely. (Getting ready for a book group meeting right now.) Thanks for sharing this!

87amysisson
Editado: Ago 28, 2015, 12:34 am

Story #304 (30 in August). "20/20" by Arie Coleman. Published in Strange Horizons, August 17, 2015. Read online 08-27-15.

Oddly, it was a relief to read a non-flash story.

And an excellent one.

In this short story, time travel exists, and is applied to fix medical errors that were made in the past -- not with better technology (it's forbidden to use new cures in the past, due to timeline issues), but simply in the cases in which mistakes are made. The main character goes back to prevent an insulin injection being given to a non-diabetic patient, but she has an ulterior motive as well.

I love time travel stories when they offer me something new to think about, and this story has two intriguing angles: the way in which time travel is used, and the effect it has on the time travelers.

Recommended.

Link: http://www.strangehorizons.com/2015/20150817/coleman-f.shtml

88amysisson
Ago 28, 2015, 10:55 am

Story #305 (31 in August). "The Millennium Party" by Walter Jon Williams. Published in Baby Shoes: 100 Stories by 100 Authors, edited by Dani J. Caile and Jason Brick. Anthology published in June 2015; story appears to be a reprint, date unknown. Read in Kindle e-book 08-28-15.

This has been my favorite of the 15 stories I've read in this anthology to date. A man celebrates his millennial anniversary with the love of his life; this takes place in a virtual environment, using a version of his brain that remembers only the good times. It's polished and a nicely contained piece of flash fiction.

I do note that I think the title is misspelled (millenium instead of millennium), and I think perhaps the phrase "spatial relationships" was changed to "special relationships" by mistake.

89AnnieMod
Ago 28, 2015, 3:57 pm

>88 amysisson:
2002, The Infinite Matrix -- http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/riohondo/williams-rh1.html

I think that it even made Dozois's Year's best in that year - but my memories are a bit blurry on that year.

90amysisson
Ago 28, 2015, 4:57 pm

>89 AnnieMod:

Thanks! Interesting to have confirmed that it was meant to be "spacial relationships." I've always seen it as "spatial," I think. In any case, changing it to "special" didn't quite work as intended....

91amysisson
Ago 28, 2015, 4:58 pm

Oh, but I do note that the anthology got the title as it was originally written -- Millenium instead of Millennium.

92AnnieMod
Ago 28, 2015, 5:28 pm

:) Anytime. And yeah - sounds like the name is like that on purpose..

93amysisson
Editado: Ago 29, 2015, 12:20 pm

Story #306 (32 in August). "That Seriously Obnoxious Time I Was Stuck at Witch Rimelda’s One Hundredth Birthday Party" by Tina Connolly. Published on Tor.com, August 26, 2015. Read online 08-29-15.

This charming story, just published on Tor.com, is either a prequel or a companion story to the author's YA novel Seriously Wicked. It's a lot of fun, about a mundane girl who doesn't enjoy life as the ward of a wicked witch who wants to teach her the tools of the trade.

Humor is hard. This author is good at it. Plus the accompanying illustration is absolutely spot on for this story.

Recommended.

http://www.tor.com/2015/08/26/that-seriously-obnoxious-time-i-was-stuck-at-witch...

94amysisson
Editado: Ago 29, 2015, 1:44 pm

Stoyr #307 (33 in August). "The Cubicle Witch" by James Luther Reinebold. Published in Daily Science Fiction, April 28, 2015. Read online 08-29-15.

And in semi-intentional juxtaposition(*), I've just read another humorous fantasy piece about witches. This is about a computer programmer who, fearing layoffs, visits the cubicle witch for a little bit of extra protection. I found it amusing and well-written.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/modern-fantasy/james-luther-reinebold/the...

(*It's coincidence that I happened to click on a link to a list of stories someone liked, but deliberate that from among the list of a dozen stories or so, I chose this one for it's title. Interestingly, not only is there the humorous fantasy juxtaposition, but this is also the second story I've read recently about the mind-numbing qualities of corporate cubicle life. Of the two, this story is the one that gets it right.)

95amysisson
Editado: Ago 31, 2015, 1:54 am

Story #308 (34 in August). "Dinosaur-Man" by Rhys Thomas. Published in Daily Science Fiction, August 31, 2015. Read online 08-31-15.

In this super-short piece, science is confounded when a 70,000,000 million year old human skeleton is found, making it contemporaneous with dinosaurs. Civilization consequently fails (??), except for a lone group of scientists who try to disprove what has been found. Stymied, they invent time travel and send a single man back to check if humans were really around back then.

I'm sure you can guess what happens.


I'm afraid I found this unoriginal and a bit clunky in its execution. I think it was intended to be funny, but if so, it didn't really come through for me.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/science-fiction/time-travel/rhys-thomas/dinosaurman

96amysisson
Ago 31, 2015, 2:28 pm

Story #309 (35 in August). "Reverse Logic" by Sierra July. Published in Perihelion, August 2015. Read online 08-31-15.

This short story is about a robot on Pluto who sculpts out of the ice if finds there, delighting its fellow robots -- even more so when the sculptures begin to melt and they begin ingesting "slushie" treats. Their gorging eventually leads to their demise, but they cannot stop themselves.

The only tidbit I really got out of this story was the fun of having slushie "fruit" flavors combined with emotions, but like the rest of the story, there is no logic, reverse or otherwise, to anything that happens here. The prose is a bit over-the-top, with many repeated phrases. Some of those appear to be deliberate for effect, but I'm not so sure about others. There is also an overabundance of adjectives, similes, and metaphors, making the story feel rather unpolished.


Link: http://www.perihelionsf.com/1508/fiction_11.htm

97amysisson
Ago 31, 2015, 2:39 pm

Story #310 (36 in August). "They Call Me Wizard" by Robert Lowell Russell. Published in Perihelion, August 2015. Read online 08-31-15.

I liked this flash piece about an alternate universe overlapping with ours more than I expected to. For 90% of the story, I enjoyed the voice, which was kind of saucy; for the other 10% of the time, I felt it tried a little too hard to suit me. But this was enjoyable.

Link: http://www.perihelionsf.com/1508/fiction_10.htm

98amysisson
Editado: Ago 31, 2015, 3:38 pm

Story #311 (37 in August). ""The Copperlin U.S. Post Office Manual" by Laura Rudin. Published in Crossed Genres Magazine, August 2015. Read online 08-31-15.

This story was ostensibly written in the form of a "manual," but it felt as though the author made only a half-hearted attempt to follow through with that part of the structure. Nonetheless, even though I normally only include stories with 4.5 or 5 star ratings in my monthly round-up, I'm including this one, because that structural aspect was the only part that didn't work for me -- and it didn't prevent me from enjoying the story itself.

I've mentioned before that Crossed Genres has a theme and publishes three stories each month; the theme for August was "Portals." I look forward to reading the other two stories.

In this one, a woman works at a post office on Sundays only, where customers may come in to see if they're received anything from the dead.

Link: http://crossedgenres.com/magazine/032-the-copperlin-us-post-office-manual/

99amysisson
Ago 31, 2015, 3:35 pm

Whew, I made it through August! My reading round-up for the month is here:

http://amysreviews.blogspot.com/2015/08/short-fiction-august-2015.html

100amysisson
Editado: Set 1, 2015, 4:39 pm

Story #312 (1 in September). "I Was Really Very Hungry" by M.F.K. Fisher. Published in Selected Shorts: Food Fictions (audiobook). Listened 09-01-15.

I think I picked up this audiobook anthology through a bargain website for some point at next to nothing; before then, I had no idea that this pretty extensive collection of "Selected Shorts" audiobooks existed. This "Food Fictions" edition has six stories somehow related to food, and the first selection, M.F.K. Fisher's "I Was Really Very Hungry" was truly centered on food.

Christina Pickles is the narrator for this story, which was recorded (as they all are) in front of a live audience. The story is about a traveler who stops for lunch at a small restaurant in France; she intends to order a light meal but is quickly cowed by the polite but commanding waitress into trying all sorts of dishes, which all turn out to be sublime.

There's really not much story here; it's all in the telling, and I can't imagine reading this one in print as opposed to listening to it, because it's the tone in each character's dialog that makes this story delightful. Ms. Pickles (such an appropriate name for the narrator!) does a wonderful job with the waitress's French accent and almost fevered proclamations that Maddam will be very pleased, because she is about to taste something unlike anything she's ever tasted before.

I hope I like the rest of the stories in this audio anthology half as much!

I should note that according to the liner notes, this story appeared in something called "As They Were" from publisher Alfred A. Knopf, but it is copyright 1982 and originally appeared in The Atlantic Monthly.

101amysisson
Set 1, 2015, 5:07 pm

Story #313 (2 in September). "Confessions of a Superhero" by Joel Hunt. Published in Every Day Fiction, August 31, 2015. Read online 09-01-15.

This is a cute flash piece about a superhero who is tired of saving the damsel who keeps getting herself into trouble on purpose in order to be saved dramatically.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/confessions-of-a-superhero-by-joel-hunt/

102amysisson
Set 2, 2015, 8:58 pm

Story #314 (3 in September). "Flight Feathers" by Kerry Kullen. Published in One Teen Story, August 2015. Read in print magazine 09-02-15.

Evelyn Mae goes along with her now-single mother on a weekend with her latest boyfriend, but the difference is that this one has a 12-year-old son. Meanwhile, Evelyn is carefully pulling out the feathers that sprout from skin each morning, an increasingly painful process -- which I'm fairly sure we're supposed to see as a metaphor, perhaps for cutting. The mother's behavior borders on schizophrenic, I think.

Overall, this story seemed like it was trying to convey something profound, but it felt muddled to me, and I don't like when I'm supposed to take a metaphor that seriously, or when it's unclear whether I'm dealing with metaphor or in-story reality.

103amysisson
Set 3, 2015, 4:49 pm

Story #315 (4 in September). "Beacon" by K.S. O'Neill. Published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2, 2015. Read online 09-03-15. IMG SRC="http://static.librarything.com/pics/ss6.gif">

In this story, people in a small village presumably near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, deal with the survivor of an alien shipwreck. It turns out the villagers deliberately lure the alien ships, as their ancestors had done with sailing trade ships for some centuries, to salvage the wreckage. This has been passed down from family to family, to the extent that the main character knows what food to give to survivor to kill it.

There was some nice writing here, but it didn't work for me for a couple of reasons. First, while I think this was a post-apocalyptic world, it wasn't terribly clear. I think it must have been, else the metals and electronics from the alien craft wouldn't be so prized. But the woman's ancestors have done this for hundreds of years -- does that mean the event, or slow decline, happened hundreds of years ago, or that this woman's ancestors did this back in the early days of the United States also? Here's what it says:

Did it matter, still, that their people had set lights on the Cape for hundreds of years? That this was how they had survived, in the days of roaring bonfires calling sailing ships onto the rocks, of false RDF beacons calling yachts and small trading ships, and now this, the box and the satellite antenna calling in... these.

Hmmm. The "yachts" implies that the world wasn't in all that bad a place at the time.

My other problem is that these aliens don't seem to communicate with their own species. If ship after ship disappears here, why haven't they warned each other, and/or taken retaliatory or at least protective action? It's happened enough times that the woman knows precisely how to kill the alien.


I think there was definitely a potential in this story that wasn't realized, at least for me.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/science-fiction/k-s-o-neill/beaco...

104amysisson
Set 3, 2015, 5:13 pm

Story #316 (5 in September). "Second Lives" by Danika Dinsmore. Published on QuarterReads (original date unknown). Read online 09-03-15.

This is not so much a story as a literary stream-of-consciousness by a person whose father is dying of a brain tumor. It's poetic in its language and I like some turns of phrase, but ultimately it's still just stream of consciousness, and I had little with which I could connect.

Link (free this week on QuarterReads): https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=907#rate

105amysisson
Set 4, 2015, 12:57 pm

Story #317 (6 in September). "Better than 1000 Monkeys with Typewriters" by K.R. Horton. Published in Every Day Fiction, September 3, 2015. Read online 09-04-15.

I'm actually looking to get away from flash fiction, after reading so much of it in August, but this came in my e-mail subscription and it caught my eye. Thirty years or so in the future, movie studios put out possible plots on Twitter, see what people up-vote, and give them to a computer program to write the script. Only now the computer program has writer's block.

This idea was cute, but it didn't quite live up to its promise for me personally.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/better-than-1000-monkeys-with-typewriters-by-k-r-...

P.S. I think that while I'm still going to read flash, on any day I do, I'm going to try to read a longer short story as well.

106amysisson
Editado: Out 17, 2015, 2:21 pm

Story #318 (7 in September). "We Clever Jacks" by Greg van Eekhout. Text originally published in on the author's blog, October 31, 2007. Podcast reprint published in Podcastle, October 5, 2012. Listened online 09-04-15.

Long story short (no pun intended), I had about 15 minutes to kill while waiting for my husband, so I went hunting for short podcasts and this caught my eye. And I adored it. It's a tale of pumpkins ("Jacks") plotting in the time leading up to Halloween. The reader and the background music are excellent, and it's a perfect Halloween story for kids or adults. For me, the tone and style felt completely original.

Link: http://podcastle.org/2012/10/05/podcastle-miniature-71-we-clever-jacks/

107amysisson
Set 6, 2015, 3:42 pm

Story #319 (8 in September). "Weight of the World" by José Pablo Iriarte. Published in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, February 2015. Read 09-05-15.

This short story is narrated by a father who lives on the Moon, but who has, at great expense, brought his wife and son down to Earth so his son can get treatment for cancer.

The story is well-written and very heartfelt, and I like the metaphor of the father moving around unaided in Earth gravity as a way of trying to appear strong for his son. At the same time, this was perhaps a little too on the nose for me. But it is a good story.

The magazine calls this flash fiction, but I counted it at more than 1,500 words. Plus it doesn't read like flash.

Link: http://www.fantasticstoriesoftheimagination.com/original-flash-fiction-weight-of...

108amysisson
Set 6, 2015, 10:29 pm

Story #320 (9 in September). "An Immense Darkness" by Eric James Stone. Published in Analog, March 2015. Read PDF file 09-06-15.

This is a well-written story about a man who spends time in the company of an incomplete simulation of his dead wife's brain, which may be preventing him from truly grieving. He is approached by the government, who wants to know if he can use the technology to extract information from one of the terrorists behind the attack that killed his wife.

Again, I did think this was well-written, but it lacked subtlety and nuance. I was not much in the mood for a political story, though, so I may not have given it all the objectivity it deserves.

109amysisson
Set 6, 2015, 10:29 pm

Story #320 (9 in September). "An Immense Darkness" by Eric James Stone. Published in Analog, March 2015. Read PDF file 09-06-15.

This is a well-written story about a man who spends time in the company of an incomplete simulation of his dead wife's brain, which may be preventing him from truly grieving. He is approached by the government, who wants to know if he can use the technology to extract information from one of the terrorists behind the attack that killed his wife.

Again, I did think this was well-written, but I felt it lacked subtlety and nuance. I was not much in the mood for a political story, though, so I may not have given it all the objectivity it deserves.

110elenchus
Set 6, 2015, 11:17 pm

>106 amysisson:

I liked the idea of the podcast and the sound design, but preferred reading the story in this case. A matter of taste.

111amysisson
Set 8, 2015, 3:07 pm

Story #321 (10 in September). "The Circle of Life" by Aline Carriere. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 7, 2015. Read 09-07-15.

Oh, such unrealized potential! I loved 1) the basic idea of this story, and 2) the way it was introduced. The premise is that anytime a baby is added to a family, someone in the family has to be sacrified, to keep the population under control. If the family can't or won't decide who is to volunteer, the Circle of Life Office will choose for them. The story's first paragraph introduces this concept beautifully.

Except.

I can't suspend disbelief long enough to believe that a society with this rule would also have circumstances that allow a family member to get pregnant first, without deciding who the Hero will be. And not only just get pregnant, but get pregnant by "her newest good-for-nothing boyfriend," as opposed to an actual husband. To me, any society that has set up this extreme population control in the first place will be darn sure that irresponsible idiots don't get pregnant on purpose as a way to ensure they can bump off other family members.

In addition, the ending was clever, but it was a gimmick.

I really wouldn't mind reading a serious fictional treatment of a society with that method of population control, but it would have to be thought through carefully.


Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/future-societies/aline-carriere/t...

112amysisson
Set 8, 2015, 3:49 pm

Story #322 (11 in September). "The Book" by Shelley Stoehr. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 09-08-15.

My impression of this story is that it's well-meaning and ambitious, but misses the mark. A twenty-something woman named Jesse finds an old notebook under the attic eaves in her parents' home, about a boy named Michael Cortese that she was obsessed with when he was a high school senior and she was a sophomore. While reading through the book, she remembers "the accident" and it comes to light that the notebook is really about Jesse and her best friend Anne, who was the driver in a drunk-driving incident that also crushed one of Jesse's legs. Jesse, now married, is finally ready to remember and talk about it.

There were a few elements that kept this from working for me. First, the looking back from a twenty-something perspective felt to me like it made this story wrong for its intended readers, although I note that the flashback sections are written in the teenage Jesse's voice. But the frame of the adult POV felt distancing.

Second, unless a story is exceptional, I have little interest in drunk driving stories because I have little sympathy. Granted, in the end the driver is the one responsible. Jesse notes that nobody blames her for Anne getting herself killed while driving drunk. I don't blame Jesse either, but she becomes a lot less likeable to me because she went along with it pretty damn willingly. It's just not that hard not to drive drunk.

I admit I'm bringing a very personal bias to this story, which seems unfair. But even if the pivotal plot point hadn't been drunk driving, I don't think this could have scored higher than a 2.5 for me because the voice just felt off.

113amysisson
Set 8, 2015, 6:17 pm

Story #323 (12 in September). "The Scream" by Nancy Fulda. Published in NewMyths.com, December 2010. Read online 09-08-15.

This is a horror (some might call it dark fantasy) story about a boy named Pete who is horrified when his brother Kody, who has a troubled past, sticks his knife into a pumpkin in order to carve it for Halloween, only to release some kind of evil scream that finds its way into Kody's head. I was a little horrified by the resolution, but that is kind of the point of horror, I guess! I found this story, approximately 3900 words long, to be very well-written.

Link: https://sites.google.com/a/newmyths.com/nmwebsite/fiction/the-scream

(I'm on a bit of a quest for Halloween SF&F stories, at the moment.)

114amysisson
Set 9, 2015, 11:03 am

Story #324 (13 in September). "At Apocalypse's Edge" by Rebecca Birch. Published in Every Day Fiction, September 6, 2015. Read online 09-09-15.

I wouldn't say there's a lot that's new here in this flash piece about an impending asteroid impact, but I did think it was thoughtful and well-written for what it was.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/at-apocalypses-edge-by-rebecca-birch/

115amysisson
Editado: Set 9, 2015, 3:37 pm

Story #325 (14 in September). "To Express How Much" by Mary Ann McGuigan. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 09-09-15.

This story is about a high school student who finds comfort and companionship in a small creative writing group, but when it's his turn to host the meeting, he worries about how his alcoholic father will behave in front of his new friends.

I thought this was well-written and was glad that it didn't result in some miraculous change in his father's behavior, which would have felt very unrealistic.

116amysisson
Set 9, 2015, 4:40 pm

Story #326 (15 in September). "Strong as Stone" by Effie Seiberg. Published in Veux Magazine, October 2013. Read as PDF 09-09-15.

Continuing in my quest for Halloween-themed stories... This piece is about a girl made of stone, who spends much of her time in the hospital while doctors study her condition and try to deal with some of the unique physiological problems that she faces. She begs her parents to be allowed out on Halloween, assuming she will finally fit in since that's the day everyone tries to be different. She learns that Halloween is not a holiday from cruelty, but soon after she gets a new "neighbor" in the hospital who helps her appreciate her own strength and beauty.

This story appears in an unusual venue for fiction: a fashion magazine that describes itself as "edgy." The story is "illustrated" with stunning photos of a woman looking at roughly humanoid figures made of stone. In a way, the photos don't go with the tone of this story, but at the same time they didn't feel wrong, if that makes sense. I was glad they were there, because they're gorgeous to look at.

Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9FJuBB_fx-BUjdVQWl4OGlRaVE/edit

(NOTE: link is to a PDF that is a portion of the magazine; just page forward a few pages to get to the story)

117amysisson
Set 10, 2015, 4:16 pm

Story #327 (16 in September). "Found Day" by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 10, 2015. Read online 09-10-15.

For me, this is a perfect piece of flash fiction. On the holiday Found Day, people have the day off and find the one thing they lost in the past year that they've been missing the most. I'm so charmed by the idea of that as a little bit of magic in the world, and I liked where the story went with the idea.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/hither-and-yon/magic-realism/jennifer-campbell-hicks...

118amysisson
Set 10, 2015, 6:42 pm

Story #328 (17 in September). "Ginny & The Ouroboros" by Stephanie Lorée. Published in Urban Fantasy Magazine, March 2015. Read online 09-10-15.

This story is about a young woman named Ginny who has some sort of fundamental Earth power, while her younger, trouble sister Dakota has Fire power (they're not named as such in the story, but that seems to be how they function). They both suffered a troubled childhood, with some abuse by their mother's boyfriends. Ginny is apparently trying to go straight and get a biology degree, while Dakota has descended into meth and other addictions.

There is some lovely imagery in the story, and I really liked the beginning, as well as Ginny's interaction with a cop that has arrested her. Overall, though, the story was a bit muddled for me. I wasn't sure what magic the two were calling upon, how much control they had, and what the aftermath of the ending would be.

Link: http://urbanfantasymagazine.com/2015/03/ginny-the-ouroboros-by-stephanie-loree/

119amysisson
Editado: Set 11, 2015, 10:29 am

Story #329 (18 in September). "Kids in the Mall" by Mel Glenn. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 09-10-15.

Oh dear, I'm afraid I took quite a dislike to this story, and some of my reaction is probably a little irrational.

This is a "story" told in verse -- short poems, with the first and last poems by a world-weary reporter who is sent to interview kids at the mall at Christmas. Oh, how she dreads the assignment! but lo, she learns that teens are deep. The poems in between her framing verses are by the teens themselves.

I think fiction in verse can be a powerful thing, and it can even be powerful for YA fiction -- I'm thinking of Patricia McCormick's Sold and James Howe's Addie on the Inside. But this story-in-verse doesn't feel as though it's written for teens; it feels like an adult author writing in an adult style about teens. It also felt like too many of the students were going through the same existential crisis. For instance, there's a high school girl working at a store called "Bell, Book and Candle" who talks about selling candles and tarot cards to people who hardly believe in anything. "What kind of life am I leading? / What kind of truth am I looking for?" Really? At age 17 or 18, working my first job, I'm thinking "This is an OK job. Could be better." Not "Oh my God, what is the meaning of the universe and how am I expressing it by choosing this particular job?"

Sorry, that was snarky. :-( This isn't meant to imply that teenagers can't have deep thoughts -- of course they do. But this doesn't sound like teens, either in style or content. Another student with divorced parents says "When angry words flew like heart-piercing arrows / I armored myself by not choosing sides."

Oh, this was also way too long. I flipped ahead twice to see how much further I had to go, and both times it was pages and pages.

120AnnieMod
Set 10, 2015, 10:21 pm

>119 amysisson:

That does not sound awful... Thanks for reading it and posting about it so I do not need to :)

121amysisson
Editado: Set 11, 2015, 10:57 am

Story #330 (19 in September). "Regarding your Position as our Third Year Teacher" by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley. Published on QuarterReads; originally published in Daily Science Fiction, April 23, 2014. Read 09-10-15.

This humorous SF flash is delightful. It's a tongue-in-cheek letter to a teacher who is perhaps not so happy with her choice to take a job at a remote space colony.

I read this on QuarterReads, but it's also available on Daily Science Fiction.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/hither-and-yon/postmark-andromeda/sylvia-spruck-w...

122amysisson
Set 11, 2015, 10:35 am

Story #331 (20 in September). "Tell Me Who You Hang Out With and I'll Tell You What You Are" by Eleanora E. Tate. Published in Lost & Found, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss. Anthology and stories published in 2000. Read in print book 09-10-15.

This was the last story I had left in this anthology, and I wish it had been one of the good ones, but no such luck. In this story, an African American girl nicknamed Red gets jealous when a pretty new girl shows interest in her best friend, a boy named JoJo. Red wants to study reptiles when she grows up and, with JoJo, keeps a "reptile lab" in her back yard. Red is convinced that the new girl, Anna, is a snake in human form and that she has "marked" JoJo, whatever that means. But then it turns out that Red literally turns into a snake herself. She gleefully thinks that when she next sees JoJo, she'll "mark him myself and get him back to being Red in no time at all."

In other words, don't accept that your best platonic friend might ever have another relationship; you should just mark him as your own. And where did this sudden magic come from in what until then had been a realistic story about an emotionally immature girl with a too-vivid imagination? Overall, I felt the story was inconsistent and silly.

123amysisson
Editado: Set 11, 2015, 12:34 pm

Story #332 (21 in September). "Weremoose" by Mary E. Lowd. Published on QuarterReads; originally published in Untied Shoelaces of the Mind (date unknown). Read online 09-10-15.

This is QuarterReads free story this week; it's about a wolf that tries to take down a moose alone to prove itself to the pack, but instead gets bitten and either turns into a moose, or just thinks it's going to but doesn't.

Animal POV stories are a very hard sell for me, especially because I dislike that the animals often end up identified with names like "Darkfoot." It makes sense, in a way, that animals would fix on some physical property, but for whatever reason that's a personal pet peeve of mine.

At least it wasn't actually a weremoose horror story. I actually saw a horrible short film in 2014 about zombie kangaroos....


Link (free this week only): https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=942

124amysisson
Set 12, 2015, 11:41 am

Story #333 (22 in September). "The Springwood Shelter for Genetically Modified Animals" by Verity Lane. Published in Crossed Genres Magazine, September 2015. Read online 09-12-15.

A young woman named Mel, who hopes to "graduate" from the Matherson Children’s Home and get a real job in lieu of being sent to a labor farm, begins a temporary assignment at the Springwood Shelter for Genetically Modified Animals. Mel realizes that Anita, the citizen assigned to oversee her, is uncomfortable, but as they begin their rounds feeding the animals, the two begin to form a connection.

This story had everything I like: an inventive (if a little scary) future, developed characters, and real heart. It also has animals, so bonus! The story is somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 words but read very quickly. I plan to revisit this story around nomination time next year, and see how much I like it upon a second reading.

The theme for this issue of Crossed Genres Magazine, by the way, is the year 2065.

Link: http://crossedgenres.com/magazine/033-the-springwood-shelter/

125amysisson
Set 14, 2015, 10:57 pm

Story #334 (23 in September). "To Be Carved (Upon the Author’s Tombstone in the Event of His Untimely Demise)" by David Steffen. Published in Perihelion, September 2015. Read 09-14-15.

This humorous SF flash piece didn't quite work for me, although it was clever. It's about a man who realizes that a Collective Artificial Intelligence exists, and has been influencing human entertainment for its own purposes.

Link: http://www.perihelionsf.com/1509/fiction_10.htm

126amysisson
Editado: Set 16, 2015, 3:46 pm

Story #335 (24 in September). "Witness for the Prosecution" by Agatha Christie. Published in Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories (audiobook collection), 2004 (?). Story originally published 1925. Listened 09-15-15.

So listening to this was a bit of a weird experience for me. I remember being blown away by it the first time I read it in print, and being surprised anew when I read it again years later. This time I wasn't surprised, which is to be expected, but I also felt inclined to pick holes in it. My main problem is that there was no mention in this version that Romaine should be in jail for perjury, once her testimony was discredited. The Wikipedia entry about this story notes that Christie herself was dissatisfied with the ending, and wrote in another character, Leonard Vole's mistress. In the new version, Leonard and his mistress were about to leave Romaine "to be arrested for perjury." So that's addressed, yet I don't think I would have liked the abrupt introduction of a new character.

In addition, I think any relatives of the elderly Emily French would have challenged the will, depending on the length of time that she had known Leonard Vole. On the other hand, this was written 90 years ago! It might have been a little different then.


At any rate, I was pleased with Christopher Lee's reading; he got far more variety out of his very distinctive voice than I would have expected. I did, however, have difficult understanding the words when characters with a thick accent were speaking.

127amysisson
Editado: Set 16, 2015, 3:51 pm

Story #336 (25 in September). "Indigestion" by Anton Chekhov. Published in "Selected Shorts: Food Fictions" (audiobook anthology). First English language publication in The New Yorker in 1996 (?). Listened on audio CD 09-15-15.

This story is so short that it consists of a single column on one page of the New Yorker, and it's less than 3 minutes as an audio story. It's really a vignette, about a man awaiting his blinis with impatience, who then piles upon them caviar, salmon, sour cream, bratts, etc. etc. before succumbing to a fit or a seizure before he can enjoy them. I didn't really care for this, and found Bradley Whitford's reading to be a little grating.

128amysisson
Editado: Set 16, 2015, 2:50 am

Story #337 (26 in September). "FemCloud Inc." by Mary E. Lowd. Published in Daily Science Fiction, February 19, 2015. Read online 09-15-15.

This is a very short SF flash piece that I think is meant to be humorous, but it didn't really work for me. An unexpectedly pregnant woman is in for a surprise when she has her first ultrasound.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/future-societies/mary-e-lowd/femc...

129amysisson
Set 17, 2015, 5:18 pm

Story #338 (27 in September). "Stacey and Promo Sail the Seven Seas" by Graham Downs. Published on QuarterReads. Read online 09-17-15.

The introductory paragraphs for this story seemed cute so I paid my quarter and bought it, but it turned out to be pretty dreadful. It's quite random, as evidenced by the fact that Promo is a talking sword, but as soon as Stacey gets back on her ship, the story is all about Spice the talking cat instead. Who complains about everything, so nobody is sad when Spice falls overboard and is swallowed by a whale. And then the story ends.

This reads as though written by someone without much understanding of story structure or plot. A large percentage of the stories on QuarterReads have been previously published elsewhere, which provides some measure of gatekeeping, but there's not much more than that; the point of the site is to let people put their writing up on it as long as it isn't full of spelling and obvious grammar errors, or exploitative (as of children).

Link (behind the QuarterReads paywall): https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=1481

130amysisson
Set 18, 2015, 1:05 am

Story #339 (28 in September). "Just a Little More" by V.S. Pritchett. Published in "Selected Shorts: Food Fictions" (audiobook anthology). First published in The New Yorker in 1978. Listened on audio CD 09-17-15.

Another from the Selected Shorts: Food Fictions audiobook anthology, this story was read by René Auberjonois. It's about an elderly man invited to his son and daughter-in-law's home for a family dinner; he spends most of the dinner reminiscing about food, and claiming that he doesn't want any more food -- he hardly ever eats at home, he says -- and then keeps accepting a little more.

I found this a bit dull, actually. I mean, I do think it was probably an accurate portrayal of how certain senses, such as taste, become associated with memory, but it felt like the story did not utilize the humor that was right there in front of it.

131amysisson
Editado: Out 1, 2015, 2:58 pm

Story #340 (29 in September). "Enough" by Alice McDermott. Published in "Selected Shorts: Food Fictions" (audiobook anthology). First published in The New Yorker in 2000. Listened on audio CD 09-18-15.

Like the first story I heard from this anthology ("I Was Really Very Hungry" by M.F.K. Fisher), this story was delightful. It basically tells the story of a woman, starting from when she is a girl to when she is an old lady. She's Catholic and (I assume) Irish. When she's young, she looks forward to the Sunday dinners at which her family has ice cream for dessert; it's described very sensually. When she becomes a woman, the story discusses sex in the same way, and once she is a widow, it's ice cream again. She has oodles of children and grandchildren, and when she babysits her grandchildren she sneaks ice cream from her daughters' freezers.

This doesn't do a good job of describing just what is delightful about the story because it's hard to pin down.

132amysisson
Set 20, 2015, 12:19 pm

Story #341 (30 in September). "Bread of Life" by Beth Cato. Published in Nature, April 9, 2015. Read 09-20-15.

This is one of Nature's "Futures" stories -- flash fiction between 850 and 950 words of "hard" SF. This story is about bread and memories, and is quite inventive for such a short piece.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v520/n7546/full/520258a.html

133amysisson
Set 21, 2015, 9:11 pm

Story #342 (31 in September). "Pocosin" by Ursula Vernon. Published in Apex, January 2015. Read online 09-21-15.

This story is written in a very similar style to the author's highly regarded "Jackalope Wives". I liked this one as well, although it didn't move me as much as "Jackalope Wives" did. A solid story for those who like tales of gods, God, the Devil, Death, and witches, told in a folklore style.

Link: http://www.apex-magazine.com/pocosin/

134amysisson
Editado: Set 24, 2015, 4:36 pm

Story #343 (32 in September). "Tell Us You Were Here" by Anne Valente. Published in One Story, April 2015. Read in print magazine 09-24-15.

In this story, the narrator has joined a three-person ghost-hunting/paranormal investigation group, apparently to fulfill some unnamed need created by some unnamed personal tragedy. I think it's domestic violence, but nothing is made clear in this story. There's not only no resolution, in a way there's almost no set-up -- the reader is just dumped into a moment and left to guess at both the before and after. As such, it was pretty dissatisfying.

135amysisson
Set 30, 2015, 2:19 am

Story #344 (33 in September). "Closet" by Melissa Mead. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 30, 2015. Read online 09-30-15.

This is really more a vignette than a story, which doesn't have to be a bad thing, but for me there just wasn't enough here to grasp onto.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/fantasy/fantasy/melissa-mead/closet

136amysisson
Set 30, 2015, 3:54 am

Story #345 (34 in September). "The Late Mrs. Buttons" by Sally Hamilton. Published in Strange Afterlives, edited by A. Lee Martinez. Anthology and stories published in 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 09-30-15.

In this story, a man hides the remains of the latest doll his well-meaning dog has destroyed, and finds it has unexpected consequences. He begins to turn into a doll himself, but is able to remedy the situation once a friend points out that he's obviously being possessed by the ghost of the doll.

Although the story was a little predictable in a Twilight Zone kind of way, I did think there was a cute element in the solution: the note the man came up with explaining the doll's alterations via her made-up "adventures."

137amysisson
Set 30, 2015, 3:45 pm

Story #346 (35 in September). "From the Other Side of the Rubicon" by Sean Mulroy. Published in Perihelion, September 2015. Read online 09-30-15.

In this story, a wheat-farming grandfather on Earth has a long conversation with his granddaughter about Martians (humans who evolved -- or de-evolved -- to become smaller and stupider due to the lower gravity there), Venusians (humans who changed some other way), and residents of the many Floating Worlds (also changed humans).

In some ways, it's a thoughtful idea, but I found the evolutionary changes described to be simplistic and possibly too quick, and the dialogue didn't feel natural to me.


Link: http://www.perihelionsf.com/1509/fiction_9.htm

138amysisson
Set 30, 2015, 3:53 pm

Story #347 (36 in September). "Grass Girl" by Caroline Yoachim. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 25, 2015. Read online 09-30-15.

Caroline has easily become my favorite flash fiction author. In this story, a girl made of bamboo is envious of the girls made of driftwood, and tries to emulate them.

The theme of this story is a common one: self-acceptance, or self-esteem. But the author has managed to find a lovely way to talk about a familiar thing.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/fantasy/fantasy/caroline-m-yoachim/grass-girl

139amysisson
Set 30, 2015, 11:23 pm

Story #348 (37 in September). "Pidgin" by Katrina S. Forest. Published in Flash Fiction Online, September 2015. Read online 09-30-2015.

I was intrigued by this story of two people trying to communicate, one in ASL and the other in some unknown language. The other is a return visitor to Earth from a human colony lost some 300 years before. While I liked this, it ended just as it was really getting interesting, plus I didn't believe that the colony would have lost its ability to communicate in English after only 300 years, since recording technology tends to slow the evolution of language (at least from what I've read).

Link: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/pidgin/

140amysisson
Editado: Out 1, 2015, 12:08 am

Story #349 (38 in September). "The Wedding Gig" by John League. Published in Flash Fiction Online, September 2015. Read online 09-30-2015.

I liked this flash piece as well. (I'm finishing the month out with flash, as I'm out of time!) A female trumpet player who has survived the Fever is ashamed of the mark it has left on her, until the bride shows up in a gown flaunting her own Fever scars. The writing wasn't quite as clear as I would have liked, and I felt there was unfulfilled potential here, but it was still a good story.

Oddly (to me), the magazine labeled this as a fantasy story. I see it as science fiction.

Link: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/the-wedding-gig/

141amysisson
Out 1, 2015, 12:16 am

Story #350 (39 in September). "Note from the Future" by Ray Vukcevich. Published in Flash Fiction Online, December 2009. Read online 09-30-2015.

Because I'd just read two stories in a row that I liked from Flash Fiction Online, I decided to go poking around in their archives, and found this one labeled as "literary" even though I knew the author to be a spec fic writer.

Yep, I'd call this one literary too. And charming. I like that it was told mainly in conditional tense. It's about a man who gets in his car but then sees a folded note under his windshield wiper. I liked the way the character's mind worked -- it seemed familiar somehow. :-)

Link: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article-categories/literary/

142amysisson
Out 1, 2015, 12:34 am

Story #351 (40 in September). "Ink Night" by Devin Miller. Published in Every Day Fiction, September 30, 2015. Read online 09-30-2015.

A man drinks something called "Ink" and has a mind-altered night on the town with his friends.

I felt the narrative POV was inventive. It was perhaps a little more complex, in terms of the number of encounters, than I wanted it to be. But effective in many ways.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/ink-night-by-devin-miller/

143amysisson
Out 1, 2015, 12:42 am

Story #352 (41 in September). "Rediscovering Happiness" by Jessica Marie Baumgartner. Published in Every Day Fiction, September 27, 2015. Read online 09-30-2015.

This is a mainstream piece, about a girl just turned 13 who finds her deceased mother's Facebook page.

While it wasn't entirely satisfying to me as "story," it makes a terrific point that we're just now getting into the implications of social media's effect on mourning and grieving -- how it may help or hurt (in this case help). I've experienced a shock a few times when a post has shown up on a deceased friend's page, left there by a loved one in memory.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/rediscovering-happiness-by-jessica-marie-baumgart...

144elenchus
Out 1, 2015, 11:21 am

>143 amysisson:

I loved that story, disagree with the comments that it's badly written or somehow emotionally flat. For me, it works perfectly and anything that tried harder would not ring true. I'm sure part of my reaction is being a parent, but that's just an explanation. It works great for me, and like you I appreciate that it raises the point of how social media potentially plays a role in grieving today.

145amysisson
Out 1, 2015, 11:27 am

>144 elenchus:

I thought the comments were on the harsh side as well. I only comment if I like something, or strongly disagree with some point. I notice that folks on EDF often comment about what they don't like about the writing, and they sometimes even advise the writer on what to "fix" -- although the story is already published and therefore often not "fixable"!

147amysisson
Out 1, 2015, 7:44 pm

Story #353 (1 in October). "Something Wicked This Way Plumbs" by Vylar Kaftan. Published in Shimmer, 2007. Read online 10-01-15.

In this story, the cold water faucet in the men's room at Gary's office building starts issuing candy instead of water on the morning of Halloween. Gary senses a presence with a dark purpose, and has to outwit the Cthulu-like entity that wants to lure trick-or-treaters in order to eat them.

This was a fun story, and I thought that the three main characters were nicely drawn. For me, the story felt a little longer than it needed to be, and the resolution fell a tiny bit flat for me, but it was still nicely done.

Link: http://www.vylarkaftan.net/bibliography/2007-2/something-wicked/

148amysisson
Out 2, 2015, 11:07 am

Story #354 (2 in October). "Summer in Realtime" by Erica L. Satifka. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 2, 2015. Read online 10-02-15.

This 1,500-word story is about a girl who normally lives within a utopian, virtual-reality version of Old Earth, but who has to spend three months every summer in real space, visiting her father who works on a station orbiting the planet Jupiter. I liked the story, but wanted a bit more about how/when people decide which way to live. The way it's written, it seems as if they stick with what they're born to for the most part, but I'm not sure. It's also not clear to me why people who think the virtual reality is the wrong way to live work to maintain the environment. It makes sense for Tina's father, but I'm not sure I understand it for the rest of the characters. This is addressed in the story, but I wasn't quite convinced I got a full answer.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/science-fiction/virtual-reality/erica-l-satifka/summ...

149amysisson
Out 4, 2015, 2:43 am

Story #355 (3 in October). "Grim Hunter" by Tina Yeager. Published in Havok, October 2015. Read in PDF form 10-03-15.

In this story, a woman hunts the Summoner who devoured her sister, but reveals a surprising truth about hunters like herself.

I felt this story was a bit muddled -- in fact, at one point I wasn't sure if it was meant to be a religious story. I also found the writing style a bit over the top, with perhaps too many adjectives and fancy word choices for my taste.

150amysisson
Editado: Out 6, 2015, 4:30 pm

Story #356. (4 in October) . "The Demon of Russet Street" by Jessica Reisman. Published in Three-Lobed Burning Eye, September 2015. Read online 10-06-15.

This story, at about 5,500 words, is so incredibly rich that I'm experiencing world-building envy. It's steampunkish and godpunkish, yet filled with other little odds and ends too -- I loved, for instance, how things from the sea were incorporated. A farrago named Rusk, who was bequeathed autonomy and wealth when his deviser passed away, is asked by the authorities to look into the "disassembling" of another farrago. Well, murder, really, but under the law, the only penalty for someone who destroys a farrago is compensation to its owner. The story incorporate magic, some amazing technology, and creature rights in a way that made me want to see a lot more stories set in this world. Dare I say that I was even reminded, flavor-wise, of Ted Chiang's work?

I also like that there's a sort of fearlessness that lies in not explicitly explaining all the strange terms.

Link: http://www.3lobedmag.com/issue27/3lbe27_story5.html

151amysisson
Out 6, 2015, 4:29 pm

Story #357 (5 in October). "Dis-Orientation" by C.I. Kemp. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 5, 2015. Read online 10-06-15.

This is a fairly run-of-the-mill piece of vampire flash fiction.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/dis-orientation-by-c-i-kemp/

152amysisson
Out 7, 2015, 1:04 am

Story #358 (6 in October). "The Grim Rufus" by Peter Wood. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 29, 2013.

In this story, a Grim Reaper named Rufus (not the Grim Reaper) stops by the side of the road for a guy who's supposed to die of bad BBQ. This was mildly amusing, but I admit I was confused as to whether everyone is supposed to pick up the Reaper on the highway, or just this main character. I was also confused as to the logistics of how fast certain cars were going and how far they'd gotten -- this shouldn't be important to the story per se, but it kind of was. It's a little hard to explain my confusing without going into a lot of detail, and the story is too short to justify doing that.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/the-grim-rufus-by-peter-wood/

153amysisson
Out 9, 2015, 12:21 pm

Story #359 (7 in October). "Every Other Emily" by Joseph Sloan. Published in One Teen Story, September 2015. Read in print magazine 10-08-15.

In this mainstream short story, Emily writes e-mails to Paul, who has gone off to Yale. Emily vents to Paul about the fact that her parents want her to get IQ coaching so she can get into an exclusive school for a "gap year" after graduation, all so she can get into a college good enough to be suitable for their lifestyle. Emily also writes about how much she misses Paul, and that he represents the only thing she ever decided on her own that she wanted.

This is beautifully written. I wasn't surprised at the turn the story took (although I didn't know what the details would be), but I was satisfied with the resolution.

154amysisson
Out 10, 2015, 7:54 pm

Story #360 (8 in October). "The Great Old Pumpkin" by John Aegard. Published in Strange Horizons, October 25, 2004. Read online 10-10-15.

Continuing in my quest for Halloween short stories.... Upon reading this, I'm fairly certain I read it back when it was first published. It was still a delight. It's a 2,300-word parody mash-up of the Peanuts cartoon and Lovecraft/Cthulu. Very clever and enjoyable.

Link: http://www.strangehorizons.com/2004/20041025/pumpkin-f.shtml

155AnnieMod
Out 11, 2015, 2:35 am

>154 amysisson:

I presume you are aware of this site https://americanliterature.com/halloween ? Just in case you feel like a classic story that is :)

156amysisson
Out 11, 2015, 3:09 am

>155 AnnieMod:

Not aware, but will be tomorrow -- thanks!

157amysisson
Out 11, 2015, 12:49 pm

Story #361 (9 in October). "The Burger Bargain" by Wendy Nikel. Published on QuarterReads. Read online 10-11-15.

This is a mildly amusing sort of reverse fairy tale, about a prince who wants to find his way into our everyday world. It meandered a bit too much for my taste, and I found the ending unsatisfying -- the prince obviously ends up even less satisfied than he was before, with his magical gifts, I mean. But there was a certain cleverness to it.

QuarterReads link (behind the paywall): https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=1500

158amysisson
Out 12, 2015, 10:55 am

Story #362 (10 in October). "Super-Parents Last All Childhood Long" by Erica L. Satifka. Published in Daily Science Fiction, July 30, 2013. Read 10-12-15.

In this short piece, Caleb contemplates breaking up with his girlfriend because he thinks she's a liar, based on her claim that her parents were computer brains with vat-grown organic bodies.

This didn't quite work for me. I didn't like Caleb, and I also had a moment of confusion when he's looking through her personal things in the bathroom. He's checking to find drugs, to see whether illegal drug use or perhaps prescription drugs for a mental condition would indicate why she's making this bizarre claim. But I initially read this as Caleb looking for recreational drugs himself, in part because he's portrayed as kind of a freeloading jerk, or even looking for something to drug his girlfriend with, because it said he felt guilty and didn't want her to be sick, but....

When I went back after the end of the story, I realized that I'd misunderstood the first time and it was really much more straightforward. Another reader probably would read it right the first time. But the accidental misdirection bothered me, plus I didn't find enough resolution in the story to satisfy me.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/robots-and-computers/erica-l-sati...

159amysisson
Out 12, 2015, 11:25 am

Story 363 (11 in October). "Night Witch" by Shawn Scarber. Published in Strange Afterlives (anthology), 2015. Read in Kindle e-book 10-12-15.

In World War II, a German pilot and his squadron go after a Russian "Night Witch," but all is not as it seems.

I really like the atmosphere and simplicity of this story, as well as the details of the plane maneuvers. I hadn't heard of the female pilots called Night Witches until I encountered this story (I originally heard a draft of this read at a writing event), but then since came across another mention of them in the book Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein.

I read this in the Kindle e-book anthology titled Strange Afterlives.

160amysisson
Out 13, 2015, 2:37 pm

Story #364 (12 in October). "Bump in the Night" by Linda M. Scott. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 12, 2015. Read online 10-13-15.

This is a well-meaning short piece from the point of view of a large pumpkin, but I'm afraid it fell a little flat for me. It felt like it was trying a little too hard to be earnest and literary.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/bump-in-the-night-by-linda-m-scott/

161amysisson
Out 13, 2015, 2:44 pm

Stoey #365. (13 in October). "Spirit Board" by D.J. Kozlowski. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 13, 2015. Read online 10-13-15.

In this flash piece, a girl named Kelly is annoyed that her friends seem to be taking a Ouija board seriously.

There wasn't anything wrong with the story, but I found it a little predictable, and not memorable.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/fantasy/fantasy/d-j-kozlowski/spirit-board

162amysisson
Editado: Out 15, 2015, 1:29 pm

Story #366 (14 in October). "Bloody Mary" by Norman Partridge. Published in Nightmare, October 2013. Read 10-13-15.

At approximately 8,300 words, this is a horror novelette about a post-apocalytpic world full of Halloween monsters brought to life, literally on October 31, although nobody that's left knows the cause. I thought it was well written, but I didn't like the female character, and I didn't like what felt like a point-of-view shift at the end. I also got the feeling that I was supposed to understand something at the end of the story, but it eluded me. I have to be honest, it was also a little darker than I like (although I enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction in general), so that's probably coloring my opinion.

Link: http://www.nightmare-magazine.com/fiction/1031-bloody-mary/

163amysisson
Out 15, 2015, 1:31 pm

Story #367 (15 in October). "Crystal" by Ken Liu. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 15, 2015. Read 10-15-15.

This is a very short (~700 words) flash piece about a Chinese boy who is sent to live with the mother that emigrated to America long enough ago that he doesn't remember her. It was heartfelt and nicely written, but I didn't find there to be enough to satisfy me.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/fantasy/modern-fantasy/ken-liu/crystal

164amysisson
Editado: Out 16, 2015, 3:42 pm

Story #368 (16 in October). "When the Circus Lights Down" by Sarah Pinsker. Published in Uncanny, March/April 2015. Read online 10-16-15.

This short story is about a circus that lands -- literally coming out of the sky -- in a town at unpredictable intervals, causing everybody to ignore their jobs. A woman named Haley takes her daughter Annie to the circus for the first time, while dealing with her own mother's disapproval of it.

I absolutely loved the idea of this circus -- so magical and inventive! -- but I wanted the story to be more centered on it. I didn't understand why Haley's mother disliked the circus so much (I'm assuming it's because Haley's father abandoned them to go away with the circus when it left), and there was a flashback to when Haley rode a bus on a school field trip to the circus but didn't get off the bus because she hadn't been told to specifically, which for me bogged the story down a bit in the middle.

Link: http://uncannymagazine.com/article/when-the-circus-lights-down/

165amysisson
Out 16, 2015, 3:42 pm

Story #369 (17 in October). "Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez?" by Isabel Yap. Published in Nightmare, March 2014. Read online 10-16-15.

A student at an all-girls school doesn't believe her friend when she says she's opened her third eye and keeps hearing ghosts, but when they put on a haunted house at their school fair, the first girl finally has to believe her friend. The story itself is interspersed with little vignettes about Anamaria Marquez, each of which explains a different school ghost legend.

For me, this story seemed a bit muddled, and I didn't find the girls' behavior to be convincing in some instances. I also would have preferred fewer vignettes (there are six of them, not counting the last bit), as they felt to me like an interruption that delayed the story.

Link: http://www.nightmare-magazine.com/fiction/have-you-heard-the-one-about-anamaria-...

166amysisson
Out 16, 2015, 4:01 pm

Story #370 (18 in October). "The Mirror Man" by Andrija Popovic. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 16, 2015. Read online 10-16-15.

At 1,400 words, this is a not-quite-flash story. People have virtual interfaces that allow them to avoid seeing anything unpleasant, like homeless people, and that allow advertisers to interact with them directly. I'm afraid I had a difficult time telling exactly what was going on in the story, and I found the main character a bit unsympathetic.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/science-fiction/virtual-reality/andrija-popovic/the-...

167amysisson
Editado: Out 16, 2015, 6:51 pm

Story #371 (19 in October). "Genie From the Gym" by M.K. Hutchins. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 14, 2015. Read 10-16-15.

I'm afraid this flash piece didn't work for me at all. Just not to my personal taste, I guess.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/fantasy/magic-and-wizardry/m-k-hutchins/genie-from-t...

168amysisson
Editado: Out 17, 2015, 2:24 pm

Story #372 (20 in October). "The Half-life of Chocolate" by Nancy Fulda. Originally published by Fae Publishing in 2011; reprinted on the author's blog, October 2015. Read online 10-16-15.

This is a light piece of Halloween fiction in which a boy becomes suspicious when he realizes that his prized chocolate supply keeps dwindling when nobody is looking. This was cute, but didn't entirely work for me.

Link: http://www.nancyfulda.com/the-half-life-of-chocolate#free-story

169amysisson
Editado: Out 19, 2015, 1:54 pm

Story #373 (21 in October). "8 Steps to Winning Your Partner Back (From the Server)" by A.T. Greenblatt. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 19, 2015. Read online 10-19-15.

This is a second-person POV "list format" story about what the title says -- winning your girlfriend back from her immersive video game addiction. I thought it was well done, but I wasn't 100% sold on the story's format, which has become a bit of a trend lately. I'm also not entirely sure how the person's actions would have the desired result -- I know what it was meant to demonstrate, but I'm not sure of the reasoning was in thinking it would have any chance of working. That's not necessarily a flaw in the story, though, because the point may be that the person is desperate, and logic isn't necessarily coming into it.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/science-fiction/virtual-reality/a-t-greenblatt/8-ste...

170AnnieMod
Editado: Out 19, 2015, 2:04 pm

>169 amysisson:

You seem to have liked that one a lot more than I did... it just fell flat - as a genre story anyway (adding the technology to immerse yourself in the game is not enough for that).

171amysisson
Out 19, 2015, 2:37 pm

Story #374 (22 in October). "Stalked by Night" by Michael Seese. Published in Havok, October 2015. Read in PDF magazine 10-19-15.

A woman walks down a sinister alley, and attracts the demon/vampire that feeds there.

There was some good atmospheric detail, but it made no sense that the woman seemed so scared when she knew all along that the creature biting her would be its undoing. Granted, she could have been intimidated even so, and she needed to act scared, but this crossed the "unreliable narrator" line for me -- the author was not just misdirecting, but misleading. Unreliable narrator is tough to pull off, I have to admit.

172amysisson
Editado: Out 20, 2015, 5:52 pm

Story #375 (23 in October). "The Last Book" by Guanani Gomez. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 20, 2015. Read 10-20-15.

I would call this a micro piece at less than 500 words; it's about books as an endangered species -- not because of e-books or anything, but as though they are actual living wild creatures. I liked it.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/hither-and-yon/magic-realism/guanani-gomez/the-la...

173amysisson
Editado: Out 26, 2015, 2:21 pm

Story #376 (24 in October). "Message from Beyond" by José Pablo Iriarte. Published in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, July/August 2015. Read online 10-20-15.

This story is about a man trying to capitalize on his aunt's and deceased mother's reputations as accomplished mediums. What he doesn't know is that they actually are/were mediums, whereas he assumed they were fake. His aunt, now a stroke victim with little ability to move or speak, tries to warn him about the reporter who has come for a seance, who is not what she seems.

This story reads very quickly. I went back to check the word count, assuming it was flash, and it was over 2,000 words. That said, it wasn't satisfying to me as a story. And I don't necessarily always have to have likeable characters, but in that case I need to have some satisfying element to make up for the unlikeable characters.

Link: http://www.fantasticstoriesoftheimagination.com/original-short-story-message-fro...

174amysisson
Out 21, 2015, 9:59 pm

Story #377 (25 in October). "The Cats' Game" by Michelle Muenzler. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 21, 2015. Read online 10-21-15.

This micro piece (under 500 words) didn't quite work for me. It's about life and death stakes for family members playing each other in tic-tac-toe. The loser apparently gets eaten by the sinister cats that surround the players, but it's not clear to me how many victims the cats will claim. Only one survivor? I think my other issue is that tic-tac-toe usually ends in a draw, doesn't it?

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/science-fiction/science-fiction/michelle-muenzler/th...

175amysisson
Out 22, 2015, 6:49 pm

Story #378 (26 in October). "The Librarian's Dilemma" by E. Saxey. Published in Unlikely Story: The Journal of Unlikely Academia, October 2015. Read 10-22-15.

OK, I have a lot to say about this 6,400-word story, in which Jas takes a short-term job at a somewhat remote university library (I assume in England) in order to "seed" the books with locator devices. The head librarian has some very strange and restrictive policies meant to keep people from accessing the materials unless she has control over it.

MAJOR SPOILERS BEHIND THE TAG -- Not everything I've written is a spoiler, but it was too much trouble to separate out what I thought absolutely had to go behind the cut from what didn't need to.

1) As a librarian, it was surprising to me that I found this story about librarians and libraries quite slow. I think it could have been done in 5,000 to 5,500 words.

2) I'm perplexed, as always, by the British university system. Jas arrives at this place for a job; it's unclear to me at what point in his studies he currently is. But just because he's doing a contract job at this particular library, the head librarian offers to put in a good word for him with university admissions. As this story is written, it sounds as if he hasn't got a prayer of getting into a university to become a librarian without this bit of luck. I don't get it. I imagine it's different in the U.K., but in the U.S. if you have an undergrad degree with a reasonable grade point average, you will get in to a library school somewhere if you want to. You don't need extra special help from someone already in the profession. The library degree is an easy one for universities to grant; it doesn't normally require a thesis, so does not need the kind of intense faculty supervision that would require. Therefore, the library programs are, in fact, a good source of income for the university -- at least that is my impression. I imagine that part is different elsewhere since higher education is funded differently in different countries, but I am still a bit perplexed at the idea that so much was at stake for Jas in this case.

3) I don't buy that a head librarian would be allowed to have such ridiculous policies. It's not as though the head librarian is head of the university and answers to nobody. (And even heads of universities answer to somebody!) I do agree that some libraries would have policies against scanning or flash photography of valuable materials, but if a book is allowed to by physically handled, I don't think taking a non-flash photo harms it further. And I absolutely do not believe that a library can have a policy forbidding its researchers from commenting on social media about a source they're examining. I couldn't buy the "explanation" -- that the true core of the collection was full of hate materials that couldn't be allowed to spread. That's like banning a book about the holocaust because you don't want people to know that other people were evil enough to perpetrate it. Hmm, maybe if this is a private university, it (and its library) can set its own terms, but in the U.S., most private universities get some public funding, or at least tax incentives, and they can't just do whatever they want.

4) Undoubtedly, someone can contradict me on some of what I've said here -- I don't know everything, and I could be wrong about some of this. But regardless, even if this could currently happen without raising a fuss, I still find the story implausible. Which is the fiction writer's dilemma: when you write about something that really happens or happened, but nobody believes your story actually could happen.

5) Finally, I don't think Fred would have admitted to Jas that he was stealing library books to sell, to finance an academic career. Academic careers are generally not glamorous; it's not worth going against what almost every academic believes in so that you can cheat your way into the profession.


All that said, I did quite like these two paragraphs:

There were always two impulses in any librarian, any library, any collection: the desire to preserve a text, and the desire to make it available. Those two impulses were always at war. Each finger on a book lessened its lifespan.

But that was the marvellous thing about Jas’s scanning work: now the whole world could read a book without damaging it, without even touching it. How many other professions built around a central paradox could say: we solved it?


Link: http://www.unlikely-story.com/stories/the-librarians-dilemma-by-e-saxey/

176amysisson
Out 23, 2015, 11:27 am

Story #379 (27 in October). "The Devil Is Beating His Wife Today" by Sandra McDonald. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 23, 2015. Read online 10-23-15.

This is just over flash length, and is about domestic violence, couched in metaphors that seem to have come to life in a strange, empty afterlife or limbo area. It's lovely writing and I was intrigued, but it didn't quite "close" for me.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/hither-and-yon/magic-realism/sandra-mcdonald/the-dev...

177amysisson
Out 23, 2015, 2:34 pm

We interrupt this broadcast with a public service announcement ....

No, not really. But I did a blog post today highlighting my favorites from among the Halloween short fiction I've read in September and October:

http://amysreviews.blogspot.com/2015/10/pumpkin-time-recommended-halloween.html

178amysisson
Out 24, 2015, 12:16 pm

Story #380 (28 in October). "Possessed of a Fierce Violence" by Alexis A. Hunter. Published in Page & Spine, October 23, 2015. Read 10-24-15.

I'm afraid this short piece didn't work for me -- I found it a bit muddled and a bit overwrought in its style. It's about a woman who destroys the men who mistake her silence for weakness, but it's somewhat non-specific.

Link: http://www.pagespineficshowcase.com/277/post/2015/10/possessed-of-a-fierce-viole...

179amysisson
Editado: Out 24, 2015, 12:47 pm

Story #381 (29 in October). "Virtual Blues" by Lee Budar-Danoff. Published in Diabolical Plots, March 2015. Read online 10-24-24.

I've seen a lot of stories that deal with "wired society," in which people interact almost exclusively via virtual interfaces, but I think this was the first I've seen in which some people's bodies simply reject the implanted interfaces. And if that doesn't happen right away, a person may quickly get used to being wired, then have to live without. This story also dealt with creating and playing music, and the bond created between a performer and a live audience. I found it quite moving, and I felt like the author completely gets jazz and music in general.

Link: http://www.diabolicalplots.com/fiction-virtual-blues-by-lee-budar-danoff/

180amysisson
Out 24, 2015, 1:16 pm

Story #382 (30 in October). "A Marriage" by Kiik A.K. Published in Expanded Horizons, October 2015; originally published 2014. Read online 10-24-15.

This is micro-fiction at under 300 words; I'm afraid it's a somewhat incomprehensible mess, particularly the first paragraph.

Link: http://expandedhorizons.net/magazine/?page_id=3708

181amysisson
Out 26, 2015, 5:10 pm

Story #383 (31 in October). "James and the Prince of Darkness" by Kevin Lauderdale. Published in Ain't Superstitious (anthology), 2015. Read in print book 10-26-15.

This is a deal with a devil story, in which a British man's valet, James, proves surprisingly resourceful. I thought this was fun, and loved the consistent Wodehouse tone throughout.

182amysisson
Editado: Out 27, 2015, 12:41 am

Story #384 (32 in October). "And in the End, They All Lived Happily Ever After" by Michelle Ann King. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 26, 2015. Read 10-26-15.

This is a micro piece (under 500 words), written from the POV of one of Cinderella's coachmen. The writing is lovely, and the only thing that kept me from rating it higher was that some of the sentences were overly long. It was obviously done deliberately and for effect, and works for the most part. But in a few cases, that one phrase too many was really one too many.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/fairy-tales/michelle-ann-king/and-in-the-...

183amysisson
Editado: Out 29, 2015, 12:14 am

Story #385 (33 in October). "The Terrible" by John Wiswell. Published in Daily Science Fiction, October 27, 2015. Read 10-27-15.

I'm going to call this a "twisted superhero story" in the same way we use the phrase "twisted fairy tales." It's about a supervillain wannabee called "The Terrible," who's horrified to find that his archnemesis superhero has been faking letting him win some of the battles. It was OK, but there are a lot of these kinds of tales out there these days and I didn't find this one memorable. (I also find it hard to get past phrases such as "She grinned cheesily.")

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/superhero/john-wiswell/the-terrib...

184amysisson
Nov 2, 2015, 4:42 pm

Story #386 (34 in October). "Lirazel's Heart" by Robert B. Finegold. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read in print book 11-1-15.

This is a lovely, heartfelt story that leads off the Robotica anthology. It's clockwork steampunk, about a female android companion whose loyalty is governed by who owns a small physical treasure housed within her heart.

185amysisson
Nov 2, 2015, 4:48 pm

October wrap-up, even though I'm playing catch-up with the last few dates in October due to travel. I'll list the last few stories in my next post.....

http://amysreviews.blogspot.com/2015/10/short-fiction-october-2015.html

186amysisson
Editado: Nov 4, 2015, 1:48 pm

Story #387 (35 in October). "Nakamura-san" by Robin Wyatt Dunn. Published in Perihelion, October 2015. Read online 11-4-15.

I'm afraid I found this story completely incomprehensible. In addition, of the three androids, it appears that the female one existed solely for sexual purposes. But that aside, there was also just a lot of stuff that made no sense. One android kissed another and the second tasted of "pepper and cream," leading me to wonder what it's made of or what it's eating when I assume it doesn't eat. An android that previously showed no emotion suddenly shouts "We're going to be rich!" as though it should care. Tense changes without warning: It was a dangerous business, building robots who could think. Sometimes they don’t do what you want.

http://www.perihelionsf.com/1510/fiction_10.htm

187amysisson
Editado: Nov 5, 2015, 12:04 am

Story #388 (36 in October). "No Spaceships Go" by Annie Bellet. Published in Daily Science Fiction, December 17, 2010. Read online 11-4-15.

I went to Daily Science Fiction looking for a quick flash story, and had already gotten pretty far into this one before realizing it was much longer than most of their stories -- about 4,600 words. It was heartfelt and well written, about a boy who dreams of a future at a space colony with his secret boyfriend, who is one of the "unfortunates" who are never the ones selected in the lotteries to win a place at a colony. I felt that aside from the kissing, the boys acted and spoke as though they were much younger than the main character's sixteen years, but it's a minor quibble. At the same time, something that I can't identify held me back from liking this story as much as I would have expected to.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/space-travel/annie-bellet/no-spac...

188amysisson
Nov 5, 2015, 9:08 am

Story #389 (37 in October). "The Last of Time" by Ken Poyner. Published in Daily Science Fiction, November 5, 2015. Read online 11-5-15.

You have to admit, it is pretty darn difficult to do anything original with time travel these days, especially in flash fiction. And I have to admit that I did see the ending of this story coming. However, I still really liked this piece -- I liked the conceit of the time travel machine needing to be cleaned for those stray microseconds it occasionally snagged. I didn't rate this higher, however, because there were three or four spots in the story where I tripped over clunky word choice or punctuation. There were some great word choices that fit in with where the story was going, but a few places of unnecessary clumsiness.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/science-fiction/time-travel/ken-poyner/the-last-of-t...

189amysisson
Nov 5, 2015, 9:55 am

Story #390 (1 in November). "Sea Monkey Business" by Paul A. Freeman. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 31, 2015. Read online 11-5-15.

This is a cute piece of Halloween flash, that I'm guessing was originally written for the Apex Halloween microfiction contest. A boy named Brendan works on a science experiment homework, with interesting results. This was well-written, but a little predictable and not particularly memorable. But it does what it sets out to do within the constraints of the form, and would be an entertaining Halloween short story for kids.

Link: http://www.everydayfiction.com/sea-monkey-business-a-halloween-tale-by-paul-a-fr...

190amysisson
Nov 9, 2015, 2:32 am

Story #391 (2 in November). "Checkmate Charlie" by Gustavo Bondoni. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read in print book 11-8-15.

An entertainment program is delighted when "Mother" boots him back up to play chess again, but it knows from past patterns that she does so only when she's at her unhappiest in her marriage. He gradually convinces her to take action.

I first thought I was rooting for the wife, then thought that I wasn't, then ultimately realized that I wasn't rooting for anyone at all. That's OK -- we don't always have to have someone we're cheering for in every story -- but it seems to me there's still always a mental readjustment when you do realize that you're not rooting for anyone. I also didn't think it was likely that the wife would go postal on that one occasion when she'd known her husband had been cheating for years, and I found their dialog cliched -- it's hard for me to imagine anyone except maybe Donald Trump saying that he married "down" to his spouse. However, I will say that the story was quite well thought out, in terms of the logistics that Charlie had to work out in order to get what he wanted.

191amysisson
Editado: Nov 9, 2015, 2:39 am

Story #392 (3 in November). "Fathers' Faces" by Robin Wyatt Dunn. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read in print book 11-8-15.

In this story, I think that a human is modified to pass as a robot so he can be a spy in a human/robot war. The story is broken up into sections, some very short, and has a disjointed feel to it, so much so that I'm not entirely sure what happens. I'm not sure if this is a robot that believed it was human when it wasn't, or if it truly was a human modified to pass as a robot. I liked the character's interactions with other robots in the camp it was infiltrating, but this story feels only half done, or as though it was trying to stay within flash fiction word count limits, and we don't have the benefit of everything that would have been included if it hadn't been constrained that way.

192amysisson
Nov 9, 2015, 2:48 am

Story #393 (4 in November). "The Maker's Mark" by Mark Silcox. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read in print book 11-8-15.

An AI teacher instructs its robot students about "evolution," and is stymied when one of its students insists that there were originally three laws of robotics instead of two. I thought the reference to "Yasimof's" laws was cute, but I was puzzled as to why, in a story with so few characters, two of them were named Melanie: a robotic student and (assuming she existed and I wasn't missing something here) another robot's human). I kept re-reading a few paragraphs, trying to figure out if the little robot was pretending a human named Melanie had discussed it with him when actually it was his fellow robot named Melanie, but I don't think that was the case. I need to re-read it from start to finish in a day or two, and look at it with fresh eyes.

Also, the story didn't make clear to me why it was so important for robots to think that they didn't have the third law that a robot must protect its own existence, unless doing so conflicts with the first two laws. I get the feeling that we're supposed to understand that at some point a robot or robots did harm humans to extend its/their own existence, but the story did not manage to make this truly clear.

193amysisson
Nov 9, 2015, 5:36 pm

Story #394 (5 in November). "Spellcasting" by Gerri Leen. Published in Ain't Superstitious (anthology), 2015. Read in print book 11-9-15.

This story is about a woman who realizes she must release the man she magically bound to her, because she has never known the real man. It turns out the real man is not what she expected. It was an effective short story, and feels appropriate for this time of year as I'm still in a Halloween mood to some extent.

194amysisson
Editado: Nov 9, 2015, 6:02 pm

Story #395 (6 in November). "The Word of Unbinding" by Ursula K. Le Guin. Read in Epic Legends of Fantasy (anthology). Anthology published in 2012; story originally published in Fantastic in 1974. Read in print book 11-9-15.

Although this story is perfectly competent, I have to admit it's the kind of story that kept me from reading fantasy years ago. This is about a wizard who has been imprisoned by an evil force, and ultimately can only escape by embracing death. I'm afraid I found it to be very run-of-the-mill; the wizard had with powers such as turning into a mist to escape, but being defeated by a hot wind conjured by the enemy, and so on. In other words, the good magic user envisions/transforms to a useful form, and the bad magic user envisions/transforms to another form to counter it, several different times. I just didn't find anything interesting in that.

LibraryThing seems to indicate that this is some kind of prequel to the Earthsea books. The only one I've read was The Tombs of Atuan. I didn't really care for that either; I suspect that while I have enjoyed what little I've read of Le Guin's SF, her fantasy may generally be lost on me.

195amysisson
Nov 12, 2015, 4:15 pm

Story #396 (7 in November). "Charlie" by Carla Richards. Published in A Quiet Shelter There (anthology), September 2015. Read 11-11-15.

This anthology contains spec fic stories about animals, and was created as a fundraising project for the Friends of Homeless Animals rescue group in Virginia.

This story is from the point of view of a cat that does not yet realize he's a ghost, as he watches his human mourn. I found it heartfelt, well-written, not too overly sentimental, and (to me) to be the right length.

(Disclaimer: I have a story in this anthology, but I will not be reviewing or rating my own story.)

196amysisson
Nov 12, 2015, 4:17 pm

Story #397 (8 in November). "Lilly" by Melissa Mead. Published in A Quiet Shelter There (anthology), September 2015. Read 11-11-15.

This is a steam-punkish tale about a ladies' society that builds and shows mechanical felines. I thought there were some very clever bits about what the mechanical cats could do, and how those functions were achieved. I didn't find the element about the member who has turned herself into a mechanical to be as compelling or as well-developed as I would have liked -- it felt a bit rushed, and as though the woman perhaps saw the error of her ways a little too quickly.

197amysisson
Editado: Nov 12, 2015, 4:53 pm

Story #398. (9 in November). "Silent Familiar" by Cat Rambo. Published in A Quiet Shelter There (anthology), September 2015. Read 11-11-15.

I loved this story right up until the end. A wizard, Niccolo, who used magic to create a miniature dragon familiar named Olivia is astonished when she gets pregnant and hatches a miniature baby of her own, named Hrist. The new dragon is intelligent but cannot speak, and so cannot hope to become a wizard's familiar, even though the wizard brings in apprentices to try and "matchmake" a little. During a village festival in which a god appears, Olivia makes a bargain with the god to pay "any price" to let her child and her master be what they aspire to be. So Niccolo becomes a true wizard that can no longer feel emotions (the emotions are usually stored, or at least some are, in the wizard's familiar), Hrist becomes a wizard, the apprentice Ibbi becomes Hrist's familiar in a bit of a turnabout, and Olivia becomes dead. While I very much liked that Hrist and Ibbi became wizard and familiar, respectively, now Hrist can't feel anything now either, and I don't see what is gained here for him. I'm trying to think of a story or book in which I don't necessarily like the way things work out but am still somehow mysteriously satisfied. I'm not coming up with any examples off the top of my head, but I feel certain I've experience it at some point. In this story, though, I'm not at all satisfied -- I actually groaned aloud at the outcome. And I'm not sure why I found it so personally disappointing.

198amysisson
Nov 12, 2015, 4:27 pm

Story #399 (10 in November). "A Brief History of the New Brighton Toy Poodle" by Lex Joy. Published in A Quiet Shelter There (anthology), September 2015. Read 11-11-15.

This is another steampunkish tale about mechanical animals, in this case a dog that an inventor makes to try and suck up to a rich patron. His invention delights her even more than the inventor could have hoped, but now he worries that she'll leave the fortune to the toy dog instead of to him. There's nothing particularly wrong with the story, but it felt a little superficial to me. (Which isn't entirely fair of me to say, because I've written plenty of stories that aren't very deep.)

199amysisson
Editado: Nov 12, 2015, 4:53 pm

Story #400 (11 in November). "Schrödinger's Schrödinger" by Benjamin Jacobson. Published in Ain't Superstitious (anthology), 2015. Read 11-12-15.

In this story, a man devises a way to bring Schrödinger's famous experiment to practical life, with unexpected results.

I give this story points for trying, but I didn't find it at all convincing. Somehow, the man thinks he will be lauded for physically creating what was previously only a thought experiment, but I'm not sure why. He points out that the microsecond the results are observed, the two states will collapse into one. So I think he thinks the big deal is creating a mechanism where the outcome depends on only a single radioactive particle "deciding" whether or not to decay, thus setting the rest of the experiment in motion. If this is so difficult to do, then I have to wonder how the man managed to do this on the sly in a lab with co-workers.

The second half of the story is decidedly unscientific. A creature appears, first as a half-alive, half-dead cat, and then as a miniature human form. It's a "nescionist," whose job it is to keep the mystery in life, so he asks our narrator to leave some questions alone. I just found this part a little silly.

200amysisson
Nov 12, 2015, 4:53 pm

Story #401 (12 in November). "Nine Ways to Communicate with the Living" by Sarina Dorie. Published in Ain't Superstitious (anthology), 2015. Read 11-12-15.

I'm not always a fan of list stories, but this one is cute and quite funny. It does what the title says, but what the title doesn't say is that each of the listed methods of communication are meant to mess with people's minds. I thought one of the funnier lines was "Become the imaginary friend of a lonely child and give him message that will scare the shit out of the adults around him." A nice little piece of humorous writing.

201elenchus
Editado: Nov 12, 2015, 5:13 pm

On the various stories in A Quiet Shelter There: appropriate for an 11-year-old? The mix of topics and genres and animals (especially cats!) is likely to interest my daughter. But she has an odd visceral reaction to profanity, and we're not eager to have her read too early about sex or gore.

202amysisson
Nov 13, 2015, 10:19 am

Story #402 (13 in November). "Fishing Lures" by G.L. Dearman. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 16, 2015. Read 11-13-15.

I can't say I was surprised by the end of this little tale of infidelity and revenge, but I did think it was very well written, and I liked the metaphor of the fishing lures.

Link: http://everydayfiction.com/fishing-lures-%E2%80%A2-by-g-l-dearman/

203amysisson
Nov 13, 2015, 2:54 pm

>201 elenchus:

Hi, elenchus! The book was deliberately intended to be fairly family friendly -- in fact, the editor asked me if I would be willing to change some mild profanity in my story and I was happy to. And due to the nature of the project, I'm fairly certain there is no violence (although one story is from the POV of a ghost cat watching his mourning human, so there is some sadness, but it was a touching story). I haven't read them all yet, but if you like I can just confirm with the editor what age she thinks it's appropriate for. Let me know if you'd like me to do that (she's on my Facebook, so I think I would get a quick answer).

204amysisson
Nov 13, 2015, 3:03 pm

Story #403 (14 in November). "The Broken Doll" by Robert Green. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read 11-8-15.

This story is about a man in the 1880s whose father is conducting experiments combining machinery with terminally ill plague victims -- to me, it has sort of Eldritch meets almost-Frankenstein kind of vibe. It's quite short, and told in short bursts of memories with specific dates, about how the man goes to his father when his own bride falls victim to the plague.

Unfortunately, I found this quite confusing. The man remembers having seen a grotesque creature in his father's hidden lab as a child. He goes to his father for help when his bride is ill, assists in the preparations, but then is horrified by what his father makes out of his bride. I'm not sure how he could be surprised. He then kills the bride-creature and his father, and burns down the house so that his father's work will "remain forgotten." But then he says "My eyes click and readjust, the mechanisms compensating for the rain." So he knows he has machine parts too -- it's not as though he's machine without knowing it. I'm not sure when his transformation took place -- as a child? I take it he's not monstrous but just slightly altered, since he appears to be passing in society just fine. I guess he thought that's what his father could do for his bride also, but I'm not sure. For such a short piece, I had to work a little too much to try and understand, and I'm not sure that I succeeded.

205elenchus
Nov 13, 2015, 3:24 pm

>203 amysisson:

I'd welcome the confirmation from the editor, but you've pretty much persuaded me it's probably appropriate. The ghost cat story is actually one I'm particularly interested to read, and for her to read!

I was worried there might be some "morality tale" violence, meant to galvanize into action any supporters of the shelter. I think PETA stories have their place, and I'm well aware that PETA does not only take the graphic approach to relating their stories. Still, I know my daughter and she would only have nightmares, it wouldn't dispose her to supporting animal welfare more than she already does. It's a relief to know this collection of stories doesn't contain any of those sorts of tales.

206amysisson
Editado: Nov 16, 2015, 11:39 am

Story #404 (15 in November). "Lady of the Skulls" by Patricia A. McKillip. Published in The Secret History of Fantasy. Anthology published in 2010, edited by Peter S. Beagle; story originally published in 1993 in Strange Dreams, edited by Stephen R. Donaldson. Read in print book 11-14-15.

In this story, knights try to earn magical treasure by choosing the one thing among the gold, gems, magic swords, etc. that is the most precious.

This was a little too cryptic for me. Was the lady the most precious thing? Was it just knowledge? I just can't get excited about stories like this.

207amysisson
Nov 16, 2015, 11:41 am

Story #405 (16 in November). "Looking for Nanna" by Gerald Warfield. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 18, 2015. Read 11-16-15.

This is a mainstream piece, sort of a flash fiction version of Brokeback Mountain. I liked the writing, but felt the ending was seriously rushed, and sort of dropped down hard.

Link: http://everydayfiction.com/looking-for-nanna-by-gerald-warfield/

208amysisson
Nov 18, 2015, 5:30 pm

Story #406 (17 in November). "Here is My Thinking on a Situation That Affects Us All" by Rahul Kanakia. Published in Lightspeed, November 2015. Read online 11-18-15.

This short story is from the POV of a sentient spaceship that has been hovering above New York City for some years, after bursting forth from the center of the Earth where it had been waiting to fulfill the goal its creators set for it.

I found the story interesting, but a little repetitive for something so short. Also, it's not clear to me who the "you" in the story is -- to me, it felt extraneous to use second person in this particular story. I think it might be referring to humanity on the whole. Finally, this seems like a very roundabout way to achieve power.

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/here-is-my-thinking-on-a-situation-tha...

209amysisson
Nov 21, 2015, 11:33 am

Story #407 (18 in November). "Rain Like Diamonds" by Wendy Nikel. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 4, 2015. Read online 11-21-15.

This tale of a queen whose subjects are suffering from a terrible drought and resulting famine didn't work for me. It's partly just personal preference; I'm not big on fairy-tale like stories with a generic queen or king. I also tripped over a few awkward phrases that seemed (to me) that they were trying too hard, such as "His gait, once like a thoroughbred's, was now the spindly stumble...."

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/fairy-tales/wendy-nikel/rain-like-diamond...

210amysisson
Nov 21, 2015, 11:46 am

Story #408 (19 in November). "Recipe: 1 Universe" by Effie Seiberg. Published in Galaxy's Edge, September 2015. Read electronic file 11-21-15.

List format stories are becoming a harder sell for me these days, but this one completely charmed me. The story is what the title says: the recipe for creating a universe. It's full of warmth and humor and lovely imagery.

Unfortunately, this story isn't available freely online at this time, so I can't post a link.

211amysisson
Nov 24, 2015, 1:00 pm

Story #409 (20 in November). "Forgiveness" by Leah Cypress. Published in Asimov's, February 2015. Read 11-24-15.

Domestic violence stories are a hard sell for me, generally not because I find them disturbing but because I rarely find that they've covered new ground for me. This story did cover new ground -- what if those convicted of domestic violence could have a chip implanted that didn't eliminate their anger, but prevented them from acting upon it? Ultimately, though, the story focused on the victim wanting her abuser, whom she still loved, to feel sorry. I felt as though there's a nuance in the story that I'm seeing but that isn't working for me for some reason. I think I would have enjoyed a different exploration of this technology -- what if having the anger but not being able to act on it actually made the person understand that he'd been seriously flawed?

Link: http://www.leahcypess.com/short-stories/free-story/

212amysisson
Nov 24, 2015, 10:57 pm

Story #410 (21 in November). "Noise Pollution" by Alison Wilgus. Published in Strange Horizons, April 4, 2015. Read online 11-24-15.

In this story, the narrator gets caught without the protection of her recorded "cloak" song, which keeps malevolent noise at bay. Fortunately, the same street kid who causes her to lose her focus turns out to be Musical, so he gets her out of the tight spot. That description doesn't do the story justice; it's really quite creative and original. However, although the narrator's very distinct voice was interesting and effective, it's of the over-the-top variety, for which a little goes a very long way. I personally found it to be too much for a piece of this length -- I would have liked it more in a much shorter piece, or somewhat diluted in a story of this length.

Link: http://www.strangehorizons.com/2015/20150406/noisepollution-f.shtml

213amysisson
Nov 25, 2015, 1:35 pm

Story #411 (22 in November). "Loving Grace" by Erica L. Satifka. Published in Clarkesworld, September 2015. Read 11-25-15.

I very much liked the sad, dark tone of this story and found it to be creative and interesting. In this post-"Shift" world, humans have no need to work because the machines do everything, yet the machines periodically draft humans for "employment" and upload them into drones. I did have two issues that interfered a little in my enjoyment of the story: first, I was distracted because I could not tell if the drones just yanked people away (which seemed to be what they feared), or if the humans got a letter or other communication and then proceeded under their own power to the appropriate place. The main character's wife, Marybeth, attended an orientation and was accompanied by the narrator. Yet elsewhere in the story there's talk of screaming. I guess you can do both -- scream when the news comes, and then proceed calmly later -- but I spent a lot of time trying to figure this out.

The other part was that I didn't really care for the little fables interspersed throughout the story -- they were a little on the nose for my taste.

Still very glad I read this -- again, the mood of the story will stay with me for a while.

Link: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/satifka_09_15/

214amysisson
Editado: Nov 28, 2015, 11:32 am

Story #412 (23 in November). "To Fall, and Pause, and Fall" by Lisa Nohealani Morton. Published in Fireside, February 2015. Read online 11-28-15.

This is an intriguing story about suicide as performance art, in a world where people can almost always be restored as back-ups. The tone and setting both appealed to me greatly, but I got a little confused by the logistics of how things work, and by "things" I mean the suicides, the shows, and the backup technology. I think it also got a little too involved in the "are you me?" questions. But I give it full marks for creativity and, as mentioned, tone. Well worth reading. I also love the illustration.

Oh, I have to say that the title doesn't make any sense to me.

Link: http://www.firesidefiction.com/issue20/chapter/to-fall-and-pause-and-fall/

215amysisson
Nov 28, 2015, 11:35 am

Story #413 (24 in November). "Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House!" by Matthew Sanborn Smith. Published in Diabolical Plots, November 2015. Read online 11-28-15.

I'm afraid I didn't find much in this story that worked for me. I'm sympathetic to the premise, which is that people acquire cybernetically (and ridiculously) enhanced animal servants as a status symbol. I can certainly see people being idiotic enough to do that, and the concept is worthy of sarcasm and/or satire. Unfortunately, though, this story's plot and the enhancements themselves felt like an exercise in stream-of-consciousness to me.

Link: http://www.diabolicalplots.com/dp-fiction-9-giraffe-cyborg-cleans-house-by-matth...

216amysisson
Editado: Nov 28, 2015, 4:27 pm

Story #414 (25 in November). "My Wife is a Bear in the Morning" by David Steffen. Published in Podcastle, November 19, 2015. Listened to podcast 11-28-15.

Published as a podcast original, this story is flash fiction and is part of Podcastle's bear-themed "Flash Fiction Extravaganza". (Disclaimer: I have a story in this issue as well; I will not be listing or reviewing it here for obvious reasons.)

This story is very short and quite amusing. The narrator explains that his wife is a bear in the morning; yes, he means that literally; and yes, he knows what "literally" means and is using it correctly. This story made me smile.

Link: http://podcastle.org/2015/11/19/podcastle-390-flash-fiction-extravaganza-bears/

217amysisson
Nov 30, 2015, 5:34 pm

Story #415 (26 in November). "The Plausibility of Dragons" by Kenneth Schneyer. Published in Lightspeed, November 2015. Read online 11-30-15.

In this story, a traveling scholar meets up with a female knight who is hunting a dragon, and realizes something strange is happening when people suddenly believe her to be a witch and himself to be a demon. I found the writing competent, but the small twist in this story wasn't enough to make me interested in what otherwise felt like a fairly generic sword and sorcery story. To be fair, there are tons of people who love this part of the genre; I'm just not one of them.

Link: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-plausibility-of-dragons/

218amysisson
Editado: Nov 30, 2015, 6:39 pm

Story #416 (27 in November). "Experience Arcade" by James Van Pelt. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 22, 2015. Read online 11-30-15.

Now this flash piece really appealed to me. It imagines a world in which people can virtually experience what they've seen in horror movies, and for an extra hundred bucks, they can experience it somewhat more than virtually.... The piece is really about what might draw some people to that kind of experience, and it's very well told. Although I don't like horror movies myself, I do like dark stories, and I can relate to the narrator who craves darkness and oblivion.

I wish I'd read this in time for last year's Halloween post. It will definitely be in my month-end post, but I'm going to make a note to mention it next year around Halloween again.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/fantasy/modern-fantasy/james-van-pelt/experience-arc...

219amysisson
Nov 30, 2015, 6:42 pm

Story #417 (28 in November). "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Love, Death" by Caroline M. Yoachim. Published in Lightspeed, November 2015. Read online 11-30-15.

One thing this author does extremely well is take a concept, something familiar to us, and build a story around it. For example, her "Five Stages of Grief After the Alien Invasion" constructs the story around the stages with which many of us are familiar.

In this story, the author uses the familiar "Rock, Paper, Scissors" game as the frame for a story about love and time travel. I was very intrigued by the opening paragraph, but then I got a little lost, both in the ways in which the "Rock, Paper, Scissors" analogies were supposed to relate to the story, and in the intricacies of the time travel. Because I was starting to get a little frustrated with the latter, the story felt too long to me, and ultimately a little unsatisfying. But it was an ambitious attempt.

Link: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/rock-paper-scissors-love-death/

220amysisson
Nov 30, 2015, 7:23 pm

Story #418 (29 in November). "Junk Dreams" by Damien Krsteski. Published in Every Day Fiction, October 13, 2015. Read online 11-30-15.

In this flash piece, two people break into a compound in order to link in to the dreams of the cryogenically preserved minds within. It's an interesting concept in a way, but if people are so keen to eavesdrop on other people's dreams, why not do so with living volunteers? This and many other "why don't they just..." questions occurred throughout the story for me, and were difficult to get past. As one commenter on the site noted, the hacking did not nearly rise to the level of the technology itself.

Link: http://everydayfiction.com/junk-dreams-by-damien-krsteski/

221amysisson
Nov 30, 2015, 11:51 pm

Story #419 (30 in November). "Last" by Rich Larson. Published in Daily Science Fiction, September 26, 2012. Read online 11-30-15.

I didn't realize how short this was until I had started it and clicked on the "Read Entire Story" link at the end of the first part. It turned out to be a piece of microfiction, the kind that is more clever than realistic. (For instance, it's not normally that easy to open an airlock, and they would've had to have been in the airlock already, which doesn't make sense.) Still, it was reasonably amusing to read.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/disaster-apocalypse/rich-larson/l...

222amysisson
Dez 1, 2015, 12:01 am

Story #420 (31 in November). "Honk if You Love Jesus" by R.L. Black. Published in Freeze Frame Fiction: v2 flash fiction: YA, publication date unknown. Read online 11-30-15.

I hadn't read any of the stories in this volume of Freeze Frame Fiction before, and as I was looking at the Table of Contents, this one caught my eye. It's a nice piece of mainstream flash fiction, about the role a bumper sticker saying "Honk if you love Jesus" plays in a young girl's life. I would have given this a higher rating, except I felt as though the ending was a bit too abrupt. But this was a nice change of pace for me from all the genre fiction.

Link: http://freezeframefiction.com/read/v2-flash-fiction-ya/honk-if-you-love-jesus-by...

223amysisson
Editado: Dez 1, 2015, 10:32 pm

Story #421 (1 in December). "A Christmas Story: Flash Fiction Style" by Darynda Jones. Published on the author's blog, November 30, 2011. Read 12-01-15.

I was in the mood for something short and Christmas-y, so I googled "Christmas flash fiction" and went to the first link, which was this story by Darynda Jones published on her blog. It's about a cynical six-year-old who doesn't believe in Santa Claus, but observes strange goings-on on her roof.

I thought this was a bit clumsy and possibly hastily written, with lots of observational asides that didn't seem like they could belong to a six-year-old, such as "Hopefully, he wouldn’t fall off. Their medical coverage was seriously deficient when compensating for income loss due to a serious medical condition or injury." I think the story is trying to be wryly humorous, but it didn't quite work for me.

Link: http://www.daryndajones.com/a-christmas-story-flash-fiction-style/

224amysisson
Dez 2, 2015, 9:20 pm

Story #422 (2 in December). "Beyond 550 Astronomical Units" by Mike Brotherton. Published in Nature, December 2, 2015. Read 12-02-15.

This is one of Nature's "Futures" pieces of flash fiction; here, a sentient telescope contemplates what to do next when it detects evidence of an intelligent alien civilization. Nicely written and I loved the concept, but wanted a little more (which I intend primarily as a compliment rather than a complaint).

I also love the accompanying illustration.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v528/n7580/full/528158a.html

225amysisson
Dez 4, 2015, 11:15 am

Story #423 (3 in December). "Fibonacci" by Eleanor R. Wood. Published in Flash Fiction Online, December 2015. Read online 12-04-15.

I loved this story. It's not precisely a "list" story, but is specifically constructed around numbers. It's about a researched attempting to re-introduce extinct ammonites into an eco-system, and it's a romance. So much is packed into this 996-word story! I also loved that there are things about the story's construction that I did not notice until I had finished it. I plan on re-reading it because I think there's even more there to "unpack."

My only quibble, and it's so minor that it's only really a quib, is that I didn't think the number of glass shards was something that the viewpoint character would note, while all (I think?) of the other things were. But the glass shards aren't out of place, per se. Again, I need to re-read.

Link: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/fibonacci/

226amysisson
Dez 4, 2015, 12:45 pm

Story #424 (4 in December). "Carpenter of the Universe" by Nicola Wells. Published in Mash Stories, October 24, 2015. Read online 12-04-15.

There are a number of very pretty images in this micro-story (under 500 words) entry for the latest Mash contest. However, only two of the three required words (carpenter, taxes, vinegar) are used naturally, in my opinion, and there are a number of grammar errors, including one in the first sentence. They're small errors, but important to me. Here is the first line:

He is carpenter of the universe crafting galaxies and solar systems from particles of matter in his tiny cottage at the end of everything.

I also think that there are a few too many images, and some of them seem thrown in without careful thought as to whether and how they serve the story. Just sounding pretty isn't enough.

Link: http://mashstories.com/shortlist/carpenter-of-the-universe/

227amysisson
Editado: Dez 23, 2015, 2:21 pm

Story #425 (5 in December). "I'm Only Going Over" by Cat Hellisen. Published in Daily Science Fiction, December 11, 2015. Read online 12-11-15.

I very much like the idea of this story, in which a teenager named Ben meets a mysterious girl at a party. However, I did feel it tried too hard, such as in the opening line: "There are a million of them, flicking between worlds faster than grasshoppers, the whine of their wings cicada summers, white scythes sighing." I was cruising along with that sentence right up until the end, but I wish it had ended with "the whine of their wings like cicadas."

I also take away a nano-point for the 17-year-old boy referring to the mysterious girl out loud as "Manic pixie dream girl goes Goth." Good description, but I would be surprised to meet a 17-year-old boy who knows what "Manic pixie dream girl" means -- I thought that term has only been bandied about in the last five years, mostly by writer types. I could be wrong.

Still worth reading.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/religious/cat-hellisen/im-only-going-over

228amysisson
Dez 12, 2015, 10:41 am

Story #426 (6 in December). "St. Roomba's Gospel" by Rachael K. Jones. Published in Diabolical Plots, December 2015. Read online 12-12-15.

I adored this short story about religious faith from the point of view of a Roomba that lives/works in a church. I admit I don't understand the significance of a certain message at the end, but I enjoyed the story so much that my lack of understanding didn't bother me as much as it normally would have. I especially like how the author really carried the Roomba's POV through so consistently, in the way it interpreted what it witnessed.

I also consider this a a Christmas story.

Link: http://www.diabolicalplots.com/dp-fiction-10-st-roombas-gospel-by-rachael-k-jone...

229amysisson
Dez 12, 2015, 11:10 am

Story #427 (7 in December). "O Tannendoom" by Folly Blaine. Published in Every Day Fiction, December 10, 2015. Read online 12-12-15.

This is a bit of micro-Christmas genre fiction, and was probably written for one of the contests for such. It's horror, actually, but saying so gives the plot away. I would have preferred a sappy Christmas plot, and I don't think this story will stay with me per se, but I did think it was well-written for what it was.

Link: http://everydayfiction.com/o-tannendoom-by-folly-blaine/

230amysisson
Editado: Dez 12, 2015, 9:05 pm

Story #428 (8 in December). "Hairbrush, Socks, Pencils, Orange" by Kate Heartfield. Published in Flash Fiction Online, December 2014. Read online 12-12-15.

This flash piece is dark, although I'm not entirely certain I would call it horror. It's about the items two sisters receive in their stockings every year, with the special significance held by the oranges. Some notes of this rang very true to me personally, such as the girls with pigtails in their nightgowns on the couch. I wasn't quite satisfied with the plot, though, either the direction or how far it went (or didn't go).

Link: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/hairbrush-socks-pencil-orange/

231amysisson
Dez 14, 2015, 12:11 pm

Story #429 (9 in December). Legion by Brandon Sanderson. Published as a standalone novella by Subterranean Press, 2012. Read in print book 12-13-15.

I think this is the only repeat short work I have on my list for the year so far, but gosh darn it, I want credit for reading it! I read this back in 2012 and was enchanted with the idea of the main character, whose schizophrenic mind creates "aspects," of hallucinations of distinct personalities with very distinct skill sets. The character hires himself out to solve problems, ala Sherlock Holmes. In part, he charges for his services because he needs a big mansion in which to house all of his aspects. I adore the personalities (I note he's careful to say this is not multiple-personality disorder).

I would have given this 5 stars, but I felt like there could have been a little bit more to this. Not necessarily a full-length novel, but I feel like some unidentified potential was wasted.

I read this now, by the way, so I could read the sequel next.

232amysisson
Dez 14, 2015, 5:23 pm

Story #430 (10 in December). "Christmas Debt" by Jenny Schwartz. Published in Every Day Fiction, December 14, 2015. Read online 12-14-15.

This is a cute Christmas micro-story in which an introvert debates signing up for a Psych-Banker account to help him muddle through the holiday season.

Link: http://everydayfiction.com/christmas-debt-by-jenny-schwartz/

233amysisson
Editado: Dez 14, 2015, 10:53 pm

Story #431 (11 in December). Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson. Published as a standalone novella by Subterranean Press, 2014 and Gollancz 2015. Read print book 12-14-15.

The is the second novella in the author's Legion series. Again, I love the premise of this: the schizophrenic main character has "aspects," or hallucinations of distinct personalities with very distinct skill sets. I love how well developed the aspects are as characters. But alas, this story 1) stopped in the middle for a big philosophical speech that bordered on religious, 2) had a mystery that ended up being trite; and 3) had an ending I found implausible and silly. In short, the main character avoided being executed by an assassin because he had already set in motion that he would buy the company that had hired the assassin, by initiating a hostile take-over. So she's about to shoot him, and gets a cell phone call that he's now her boss. And this tough-as-nails assassin starts giggling. I'm afraid that I felt that this brilliant overall premise of the series was completely wasted in this book.

To be fair, the first book also had a religious bit, but there it made complete sense. (Yeah, if someone invented a camera that can take photos of the past, they might go back to find out if the resurrection of Jesus was real.) But in this book, the religious bit was, from my point of view, shoehorned into the plot in one place and into a speech in another place.

234amysisson
Editado: Dez 16, 2015, 12:57 am

Story #432 (12 in December). "Lupine" by Nisi Shawl. Published in Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tale; anthology and story published in 2013 by Prime. Read in print book 12/15/15.

I'm afraid nothing in this short fairy tale worked for me. It starts out "There once was a little girl whose mother hated her. The mother was not a bad woman, but she had not wanted a child, so she put her daughter into a secret prison and pretended she did not exist." To me, that pretty much makes her a bad woman. She then gives the daughter a potion that makes the girl treat terribly those she loves, and treat lovingly those she hates. Ultimately a little bird comes along and fixes things, and the mother is so anxious about not knowing when and where she'll die (which has nothing to do with anything else), that she can't bear the suspense and throws herself into a fiery furnace. So, she's so terrified of death that she gives herself a terrifying death.

235amysisson
Dez 16, 2015, 12:57 am

Story #433 (13 in December). "The Spinning Wheel's Tale" by Jane Yolen00000. Published in Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tale; anthology and story published in 2013 by Prime. Read in print book 12/15/15.

In this tale, the spinning wheel laments that it, instead of the witch, is put to the flame after pricking Sleeping Beauty's finger. This doesn't quite work for me, as everyone I know blames the witch, not the spinning wheel.

236amysisson
Editado: Dez 17, 2015, 11:29 am

Story #434 (14 in December). "The Shortest SF Story Ever" by Seth Chambers. Published in Daily Science Fiction, December 17, 2015. Read 12-17-15.

I didn't even mean to read this story; it happened by accident. I always glance at the first few words of the DSF stories that come to my e-mail, and then decide whether to read it then, save it for later, or delete it. But just glancing at it is to read it.

I don't usually care for stuff this "cute" or gimmicky, and I don't really consider it a story, but it made me smile so I had to give it a decent rating.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/science-fiction/seth-chambers/the...

237elenchus
Dez 17, 2015, 11:40 am

>234 amysisson:

Interesting. Haven't read the story myself, of course, but your description suggests a slant on fairy tales I like: psychology taking the form of magic. Here, it's difficult for me not to think the potion is an analogy for how kids living in emotionally abusive homes internalise that as "normal" and repeat it, though they don't consciously consider it desirable or good. A general truth about childhood trauma, actually.

The mother's actions also sound like wish fulfillment, which also can have a psychological interpretation. We bring to pass that which we fear precisely because we think about it all the time.

So there's something there I like, but I can't argue it's intended. And it says nothing of whether it was done well, either. From your reaction, I'd say not a particularly successful instance of this approach to fiction!

238amysisson
Editado: Dez 30, 2015, 2:21 pm

Story #435 (15 in December). "Keeping it Real" by Kim Strattford. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read in print book 12-18-15.

This romance story between a human and an android didn't entirely work for me, I think in part because I didn't find it appealing to read about petty jealousies and stubbornness that went on longer than I would have expected to. There were things I did like about the story, but I think perhaps I don't like the romance short story genre overmuch, so that got in my way.

239amysisson
Dez 18, 2015, 3:16 pm

Story #436 (16 in December). "Lovot" by Santiago Eximeno. Published in Robotica (anthology), October 2015. Read in print book 12-18-15.

This was a nice little story about a man who is nervously trying to purchase a sex-toy-android, but it turns out his purpose in doing so might not be what you would expect. This story was translated from Spanish into English by Alicia L. Alonso; I found it smoothly readable for the most part, but there are a few bits I stumbled over that I expect stem more from translation that anything else. A heartfelt story that I would recommend.

240amysisson
Dez 19, 2015, 12:46 pm

Story #437 (17 in December). "And a Cup of Good Cheer" by C.L. Holland. Published in 10 Flash Quarterly, January 2011. Read online 12-19-15.

This is dark fantasy flash fiction, about what it might be like if being Santa Claus were a curse instead of a blessing. I thought it was clever and very well written, especially how he dealt with the elves and his diet.

Link: https://10flash.wordpress.com/genres/10flash-fantasy-stories/and-a-cup-of-good-c...

241amysisson
Dez 22, 2015, 1:10 pm

Story #438 (18 in December). "The Workshop at the End of the World" by Kristin Janz. Published in Daily Science Fiction, December 22, 2015. Read online 12-22-15.

In this story, Saint Nicholas dreads telling his (LOTR-like) elves that he's been selling their beautiful hand-crafted work in order to buy the modern plastic toys desired by the world's children. This story isn't badly told, but I found it a little heavy-handed.

Link: http://dsf.webfactional.com/fantasy/fairy-tales/kristin-janz/the-workshop-at-the...

242amysisson
Dez 22, 2015, 1:24 pm

Story #439 (19 in December). "A Long Way from Home" by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley. Published in Nature, July 23, 2014. Read online 12-22-15.

In this story, a woman and five family members travel aimlessly aboard a space lifeboat following an apocalyptic war; Great-Aunt Gertrude insists on celebrating Christmas every 28 cycles.

I think we're supposed to take away that the narrator is in complete denial, although she thinks that Great-Aunt Gertrude is the one in denial. It didn't really work for me, I'm afraid.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v511/n7510/full/511502a.html

243amysisson
Dez 23, 2015, 1:27 pm

Story #440 (20 in December). "Mall-Crossed Love" by David Steffen. Published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 62 (December 2015). Read in PDF magazine issue 12-23-15.

Shopping mall warfare! I gave this story 4 stars for originality and cleverness. A boy from a tech store falls in love with a girl from the stationery store across the mall corridor, and they carry on a clandestine romance. When "foodies" -- viscious warriors from the Food Court -- plan an attack, they try to get their families to work together, with little success at first.

This was clever and a lot of fun, if a bit brutal. I didn't get it a higher rating because hardly any mention was made of how shoppers fit into this Mad Max Shopping Mall environment.

244amysisson
Dez 23, 2015, 2:15 pm

Story #441 (21 in December). "Indelible" by Gwendolyn Clare. Published in Clarkesworld, February 2015. Read online 12-23-15.

This is a thoughtful story about a woman grieving her sister's death, and trying to locate her sister's bloodkin among the aliens who live in a refugee city.

I liked this a lot -- I loved that the narrator unapologetically calls her sister a sister, without explanation, but there were a few things that kept this from being the story it could have been for me. First, while I think the author made the right choice using unusual pronouns for the aliens, they tripped me up every single time. This is a failing on my part, though, not the author's.

Second, the story was both too long and too short for me. It was too long for the amount of information we were given, yet too short in that it didn't provide enough information -- specifically, I very much wanted to understand when/why "harboring" an alien child became a crime, and how her sister therefore came to be with them undetected for so long. Why did the narrator's mother take in an alien under those circumstances -- how did she view that to be a better option for the child, knowing she would always have to hide her true nature?

I don't mind ambiguity in fiction, but to me, that would have been a big part of the meat of the story.

Link: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/clare_02_15/

245amysisson
Dez 25, 2015, 4:11 pm

Story #442 (22 in December). "The Emperor's Soul" by Brandon Sanderson. Published by Tachyon, 2012. Read print book 12-25-15.

I picked this novella up at the World Fantasy Convention because I've long wanted to read it.

Shai is a forger, who can rewrite objects' history to make them into something else. She's also a criminal slated for execution, but has been offered a way to save her own life: she must forge a new soul for the Emperor, who unbeknownst to his subjects is brain dead from an assassination attempt.

The forgery process as described by the author is quite fascinating, although I found it more believable for objects than for a personality. For instance, I loved that Shai could turn her window into stained glass because the frame had once held stained glass, and it "remembered." Objects want to be what they feel like they are. And based on certain similarities with the Legion novellas, although they are science fiction while this is fantasy, the author is clearly fascinated by the concept of people being able to provide themselves with all sorts of skills when needed.

This won the Hugo for Best Novella. I've listed it on my book list as well since it's published in its own volume.

246amysisson
Editado: Dez 30, 2015, 2:29 pm

Story #443 (23 in December). "Dream Houses" by Genevieve Valentine. Published by WSFA Press, 2014. Read 12-27-15.

Another standalone novel, this one published by WSFA Press. I adored the author's non-genre YA novel, The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, and had heard good things about this novella, but I'm afraid I was disappointed. I loved the premise -- a woman wakes up alone on a cargo ship to find the rest of the crew dead in their hibernation pods and the ship's AI behaving strangely.

Unfortunately, this was interspersed with long, dream-like sequences about the woman's past, in particular her relationship with her brother. Basically, I didn't find sufficient "textual evidence" in the story to support 1) why sending tainted food would have resulted in what the bad guy wanted; or 2) whether or not the woman's conclusion as to the AI's specific purposes was correct (as in what order it killed the crew in, and why it didn't kill her outright). I also would have liked to have seen how a person with a less muddled past might have coped in the situation.

Interesting, but for me it was unsatisfying and felt like it was trying to be too "literary," with shaded meanings and ambiguity and so on.

Also posting as a book read since it was published as a standalone novella.

247amysisson
Dez 30, 2015, 2:35 pm

Story #444 (24 in December). "Little Galaxies" by Jennifer Dornan-Fish. Published in Daily Science Fiction, December 30, 2015. Read online 12-30-15.

I liked this story about a warrior who goes to kill the creator of his/her universe, and finds that the god is not quite as expected. I would have liked it more, but I felt like it tried too hard for imagery in a few places ("I endured rivers of pus and vaulted halls of ice" -- I'm not sure how literally I'm supposed to take that). I did like the way the story came around.

Link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/hither-and-yon/sf-fantasy/jennifer-dornan-fish/li...

248amysisson
Dez 30, 2015, 9:21 pm

Story #445 (25 in December). "Seven Items in Jason Reynolds’ Jacket Pocket, Two Days After His Suicide, As Found by his Eight-Year-Old Brother, Grady" by Robert Swartwood. Published in PANK Magazine, April 2010. Read online 12-30-15.

Another flash fiction list story, that's about exactly what the title says. I think the author was skillful in releasing information gradually and from the POV of an unreliable (through lack of age/experience) narrator. I thought perhaps he tried too hard for a chill at the end. Killing the brother didn't fit the pattern of a normal serial killer. On the other hand, assuming he was schizophrenic and had voices telling him what to do, I guess it's then believable that he blew his brains out rather than killing the little brother he'd been protecting all along.

Link: http://pankmagazine.com/piece/robert-swartwood-2/

249amysisson
Jan 29, 2016, 11:01 pm

Finally crunched my numbers and posted a lengthy summary of my year's short fiction reading:

http://amysreviews.blogspot.com/2016/01/2015-short-fiction-reading-summary.html

250elenchus
Jan 30, 2016, 9:13 am

>249 amysisson:

Fun blog post, I also like lots of data and have so much more I could be collecting. But time is short.