October 2016 SFF Short Story Reading Part I

I’ve been reading some more short fiction for free online. Short stories are too, well, short, for me to give full length reviews but here’s some of what I’ve been reading and a little bit on each one:

“43 Responses to ‘In Memory of Dr. Alexandra Nako'” by Barbara Barnett. 

This short story on Near Death Experiences is told in the form of a comments section on a blog post. It’s the first time I’ve ever read a story told in this manner, and while I don’t think it would work for longer works, it was quite effective for this short story.

“When We Die on Mars” by Cassandra Khaw.

A team of twelve people has agreed to go to Mars, in the hopes of being able to shape it into a new home for humanity, the Earth having been poisoned with pollution. The journey is to be a one way trip.

“Foxfire, Foxfire” by Yoon Ha Lee. 

Ninetailed foxes meet mechanical walkers in this dynamic short story from Yoon Ha Lee. Our narrator is a fox who wants to become a human. To complete his transformation he will have to kill one hundred humans. He’s hunting the last one in the chaos of a war zone when he encounters a pilot on the run with her cataphract, a mechanical war machine.

Nuclear physics was not typically a fox specialty, although my mother had allowed that astrology was all right.

“A Moment of Gravity, Circumscribed” by Fran Wilde.

This short story is set in the same world as but written before Fran Wilde’s debut novel Updraft. In a city of bone towers and people who fly between them on silk wings, a boy breaks the most precious treasure his father owns: a ticker, something salvaged from the abandoned levels of the towers below.

“Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station” by Caroline M. Yoachim. 

This story was hilarious. Basically, if Catch-22 was a science fiction short story’s told in a choose your own adventure format, it’d be “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station.”

Have you noticed how often you end up in the same place no matter what you chose? In the clinic, as in life, decisions that seem important are often ultimately meaningless. In the end, all of us will die and none of this will matter.

I enjoyed all these stories, but if I had to choose one out of this batch, it would be “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station.” However, given the number of short stories I’ve been reading lately, I’ve broken October up into two different posts. So keep your eyes out for Part II.

If you have any recommendations for free short stories online, please tell me in the comments!



4 Comments Add yours

  1. Glaiza says:

    I love Yoon Ha Lee’s short stories but I don’t think I’ve read this one – will have to add it to the list! I adore Aliette de Bodard’s short stories – Immersion and Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight are my favourites.

    Alyssa Wong is amazing too. Fantastic filipino mythology mixed with horror. I’ve enjoyed the Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers, The Fisher Queen and Santos de Sampiguitas. I might do a Halloween post on them.

    I liked The Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon by Ken Liu. The Song of the Body Cartographer by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz is also a fave.

    1. Thank you so much for the recommendations! I like Yoon Ha Lee’s short stories a lot too, particularly his fairy tales. I’ve read some of Aliette de Bodard’s short stories, but not those two in particular. I think I’ve read Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers? Was it in The Starlit Wood collection? Anyway, I definitely need to read more by her.

      1. Glaiza says:

        This reminds me that I need to read The Starlit Wood. Bodard was in that anthology but Alyssa Wong was in another anthology, which title escapes me at the moment. I have so many Yoon Ha Lee’s stories to catch up on. I really enjoyed Ninefox Gambit though – can’t wait for the sequel.

      2. I just looked up Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers online. What an amazing story! I would recommend The Starlit Wood, and I am also eagerly awaiting the Ninefox Gambit sequel.

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