December 2017 SFF Short Fiction Reading I

It’s time for more short stories! As usual, all of these are available for free online.

“We Who Stay Behind” by Karl Dandenell

This flash fiction story is written in the plural first person, told from the point of view of all those nameless technicians helping brave explores venture into an alien world.

“Wrath of the Porcelain¬†Gods” by Nicky Drayden

Nicky Drayden’s is definitely the funniest story in this round up. When an amateur anthropologist sneaks into an alien restroom, they get a lot more than they bargained for but perhaps exactly what they deserve.

“A Life in Fictions” by Kat Howard

The narrator’s ex-boyfriend has been stripping off pieces of her for his literature. He’s praised as a genius while she’s losing herself. I found “A Life in Fictions” to be a powerfully feminist story.

“Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live” by Sacha Lamb

This story is so adorable! I know that sounds weird, since the narrator is sort of suicidal (trigger warning by the way) and demon summoning is involved at one point, but trust me it’s true. I’m not usually super into romances, but I really loved this story about the relationship between two trans boys.

“A Complex Filament of Light” by S. Qiouyi Lu

Damn, this story made me so emotional. I swear I was tearing up by the end! The main character is struggling to come to grips with their sister’s suicide. It’s a pretty heavy story, but it’s definitely worth reading.

“If a Bird Can Be a Ghost” by Allison Mills

I loved this story. Shelly’s grandma has taught her about ghosts and how she can catch them in your hair. It’s a story about family, grief, memory and tradition. It’s all around lovely.

“If We Live to Be Giants” by Allison Mulder

In this flash fiction story, two girls wish desperately to not grow any taller and thus avoid the wrath of their abusive grandfather.

“What Wags the World” by Sarah Pinsker

I really should have looked at that title and realized this would be a dog story. It’s basically a canine version of Benjamin Button. Of course, that means the dog dies at the end, and I’m just really not into dead dog stories.

“Bourbon, Sugar, Grace” by Jessica Reisman

Fox is a salvager on the oxygen starved planet of Sloe, where the mines have dried up and the population is stranded by a corporation that never fulfilled the promises to lift them out.

“For Now, Sideways” by A. Merc Rustad

I’m really growing to be a fan of Rustad’s work. This story begins with an announcement: war with the aliens is over. Humanity has won. But Holst doesn’t know how to live beyond battle or how else to keep going when she’s lost so much.

“Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” by Fran Wilde

Not my favorite Fran Wilde story. It’s beautifully written all right, and has an interesting structure, but I don’t get much emotional response from it.

“Excerpts from a Film (1942-1987)” by A.C. Wise

I don’t like this story as much as some of A.C. Wise’s other work. It’s a horror story about dead girls and Hollywood and how the media glamorizes the death of young women.

As always, choosing a favorite is so hard! I think it’s a tie between “If a Bird Can Be a Ghost” and “Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live,” but a special shout out goes to “Wrath of the Porcelain Gods”!

I want to get caught up on short stories from 2017. Any recommendations would be welcome!


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