August 2017 Short Fiction Reading Part II

Welcome back to my short story round up! Here’s some of the science fiction and fantasy short stories I’ve read lately.

“The Truth About Owls” by Amal El-Mohtar

Anisa believes that she has the power to make bad things happen, and she can get other people to believe it too.

 

“The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom” by Max Gladstone

This account attempts to create the most accurate possible version of the Scholast’s visit to their kingdom. The Scholast is a woman from beyond their world, who arrives bringing tidings of war. This story takes place in the far future, where the technology that took humans to the stars has been lost.

“In Autumn” by Theodora Goss

This flash fiction fairy tale is beautifully told, as I would expect from Theodora Goss.

“Maiden, Hunter, Beast” by Kat Howard

I don’t entirely understand this  story. It’s very clear that something happened at the end, but I’m not sure what. Anyway, this is the story about a teenage girl who finds a unicorn in New York City, being pursued by a hunter.

“One Last, Great Adventure” by Ellen Kushner and Ysabeau S. Wilce

This is my favorite of this week’s short fiction, well, maybe aside from Shvartsman’s flash fiction story (scroll down). The protagonist of this story is a Hero, and he’s decided he’s getting a bit old to be running around slaying monsters. Retirement sounds like a nice idea, and when he hears about a king offering kingdom and his daughter to anyone who slays a beast, it sounds like the perfect last adventure and retirement package, rolled into one. Obviously, things don’t go quite as planned.

“The Mermaid’s Teeth” by Yoon Ha Lee

More flash fiction! In this flash fiction tale, a mermaid lures sailors over to her rock.

“Shadow’s Weave” by Yoon Ha Lee

Tamalot is looking for a cure for Brio, her almost lover who’s been severed from his shadow. Without his shadow, he is without a soul, and he will attack her given the opportunity.

The Padishah Begum’s Reflections by Shweta Narayan (art by Sam Schechter)

“The Padishah Begum’s Reflections” by Shweta Narayan

Jahanara is an immortal Indian empress made of clockwork. In the era of colonialism, she negotiates with the French, hoping to meet with a certain woman.

“Once I, Rose” by A. Merc Rustad

The narrator of this flash fiction story has been transformed into a rose by a curse and lives and dies repeatedly.

“Archana and Chandni” by Iona Sharma

Archana and Chandni are sisters, even though Chandni is actually a sentient spaceship and Archana the daughter of the engineers who built her. Yet somehow Archana has always felt like Chandni is the perfect daughter and that she can’t measure up. These feelings come to a boil on the eve of Archana’s wedding.

“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Monsters” by Alex Shvartsman

This flash story is hilarious! This list provides tips for the modern day monster.

“If retreat isn’t an option, pretend to be their friend. A surprising number of humans will fall for a few sparkles and a tortured expression.”

“Everything Beneath You” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

The narrator of this story is the daughter of a fisher people. She longs to have her own boat and explore the sea, but such things are not allowed to women of her people. She falls in love with a goddess who says she can give her everything she’s ever wanted, but the goddess will not unbend from her own notions of propriety.

“The Topaz Marquis” by Fran Wilde

A man brings a strange gem to a jeweler, one he claims has a powerful and dangerous legacy. The jeweler does not heed his advice, and trouble ensues.

 

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