Hello everyone! While it is Sci-Fi Month, some of my short fiction reading for today ended up being fantasy. That being said, I have several excellent science fiction stories to share as well.
“The Walebone Parrot” by Darcie Little Badger
In this Gothic tale, a girl journeys to a desolate island to live with her sister, the wife of a lighthouse keeper.
“Suradanna and the Sea” by Rebecca Fraimow
I really enjoyed this story! Suradanna is a sixteen-year-old ship master’s apprentice who becomes shipwrecked on a desert island. When she drinks from a spring there, she becomes immortal. The majority of the story is concerned with the lives Suradanna fashions for herself and her relationship with another immortal woman.
“Travelers” by Rich Larson
TW: Off page sexual assault
A woman wakes up unexpectedly early from a cryopod on a space flight to another planet.
“Mountain Ways” by Ursula Le Guin
This story is set on a planet with a system of four person marriages. I’d heard of this fictional society before, but “Mountain Ways” was the first story I’d read set there. The story is an older reprint who’s exploration of gender and sexual orientation still holds up pretty well after twenty years.
“The Hulder’s Husband Says Don’t” by Kate Lecher
When the hulder leaves her forest for a human man, she finds herself fenced in by words like “normal.”
“World of Three” by Shweta Narayan
This story never landed with me. There’s multiple frames that at times made it hard to follow, although I do appreciate the ingenuity of it. The story’s about a race of mechanical beings and their relationship with humans, told through a mother mechanical telling her children the tale of their older sibling.
“Later, Let’s Tear Up The Inner Sanctum” by A. Merc Rustad
I loved how this story was told through documents — security footage transcripts, blog posts, news reports, ect. In this future, superhero groups battle supervillians. Ice Sickle, a superheroine, is out to defeat the notorious Sin-Master. The story’s layered with many twists and turns. Yet again, Rustad proves to be a masterful author of short fiction.
“Standing on the Floodbanks” by Bogi Takács
This sedate story focuses on a battle mage who was treated like a weapon and object by her country. When she falls into the hands of her nominal enemies, she finally regains her humanity.
“The Dark Birds” by Ursula Vernon
Oh, this story’s creepy. It’s an original fairy tale about the daughter of an ogre. There’s always three daughters. When a new one is born, the youngest disappears.
“From Stone and Bone, From Earth and Sky” by A.C. Wise
I’m not sure what to make of this story. A young journalist talks to the Old Man (this is basically his name in the story) about a mysterious woman and the events she set in motion at his traveling circus. I was initially a bit thrown by the construction of the story, but I came to like the shifting perspectives and use of tarot cards. Still, it’s not a story I see myself returning to again in the future.
Out of this batch, there’s two I’d strongly recommend: “Later, Let’s Tear Up the Inner Sanctum” and “The Dark Birds.”
Have you read any good short fiction lately?