December 2017 SFF Short Fiction Reading II

Hello everyone! I’ve been working my way through the Quick Sip Reviews 2017 Recommended Reading List. It’ll probably take me a while since it’s got 78 stories, most of which I haven’t read! Most of these stories come from the Quick Sip Reviews list, although a few are from my folder of short story links.

“Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics” by Jess Barber and Sara Saab

There’s some interesting background about a future world with a water shortage and scientists trying to come up with solutions. However, the story’s really about the relationship between two of these scientists (urban planners? philosophers?), Amir and Mani.

“Claire Weinraub’s Top Five Sea Monster Stories (For Allie)” by Evan Berkow

This story made me cry. I’m not exaggerating, there were actual tears. I don’t usually cry because of fiction, so whenever a story gets this sort of response from me, you know it’s good.

“They, We, Me” by Ryan Bloom

I think I would have liked this story more without the note from the editors at the beginning. The editor’s note expressly connects the story to modern day racism, but the story is about anti-android sentiment. I think it’s sort of problematic to have robots/aliens/elves/whatever stand in for people of color. The story itself was fine, although not something I can see myself going back to.

“Feeding Mr. Whiskers” by Dawn Bonanno

I like how this flash fiction story captures the imagination of childhood, where danger lurks in the shadowy corners of your house.

“We Are Still Feeling” by Karen Bovenmyer

This sci-fi short story takes an old concept (machines versus humanity) and gives it new life.

“The Library of Lost Things” by Matthew Bright

What a strange story. Thomas comes to work in the Library of Lost Things, but he’s faked his resume. He’s not really an unintelligent fan of the passive voice, but someone with an ulterior motive.

“Bear Language” by Martin Cahill

Another story told through the point of view of a child. Joanna and her brother are spending the weekend with their abusive, alcoholic father when a bear traps them in the upper floor of the house. Then, Joanna discovers she can speak bear language.

“The Silver Witch” by Tara Calaby

I feel like this story follows some familiar patterns, but it did have a bit of a twist at the end.

“Requiem for the Unchained” by Cae Hawksmoor

I really enjoyed this story. The narrator is the pilot of a lantern ship that keeps the restless spirits of the dead at bay.

“The Waters and Wild of Winter Street” by Jessi Cole Jackson

This story is so sweet and adorable, and I love it. Urgh, too cute. It made me feel things. Matt and Geoffrey adopt two baby girls, but one of them isn’t quite human.

“The Twelve Rules of Etiquette at Miss Firebird’s School for Girls” by Gwendolyn Kiste

A flash fiction story in the form of a list. Girls at Miss Firebird’s School for Girls are not allowed to keep carrion birds as pets, fly around on brooms, or form magical sisterhoods. That is simply not appropriate.

“The Cure” by Malinda Lo

When the narrator doesn’t want to get married, she’s declared hysterical and sent to a sanatorium. I like how this story approaches the monstrous and women who don’t fit into societal norms. Hint, vampires are involved.

“The Summer Mask” by Karin Lowachee

I’m always impressed by how well Karin Lowachee can write. She’s simply marvelous. “The Summer Mask” is the heart-wrenching story of a mask maker creating a mask for an injured soldier.

“Under One Roof” by Sarah Pinsker

This story brings a new twist to haunted house tales. It’s well written, but ultimately not my favorite Sarah Pinsker story.

“The Day the Wizards Came” by Rachel Swirsky

Oh, this story is sort of creepy. It’s clearly influenced by Harry Potter and other stories about separate magical communities, who have the power to stop terrible events… but don’t. Why did wizards let the Holocaust happen? 9-11?

My favorite story is easily “Claire Weinraub’s Top Five Sea Monster Stories (For Allie)” by Evan Berkow. No contest.

Are you familiar with any of these stories? Are there any others you think I should be reading?

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tammy says:

    Interesting that many of these are authors I’ve never heard of. I’m glad you’re reading and highlighting them. I’m definitely going to check out “Claire Weinraub’s…”

    1. I hope you like it! It’s pretty short, so not much of a time investment.

  2. Pyo says:

    I thought I saw “Beer Language” (which weirdly enough would have made some sense with an alcoholic father) but then it was about talking to bears … how mundane.

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