Skip to main content

What I Read in June 2017


I think the theme of the stories this month would be identity and love. Most of the stories below involve, in some respect, the forces necessary to draw two people together. I wouldn't exactly call these valentines but each story spoke to me about where love is between people in this early point of the 21st century. I hope enjoy reading them as much as I did!

  • Hero by Damian Aw: (DSF) I really dig it when an incredibly short story can fold up so much drama inside its narrow narrative. This flash piece takes from concept to stakes to consequence in an admirably brief tale. A man goes from movie to movie, correcting all of those tiny tragedies essential for a certain kind of story-telling. I was reminded of some of the closing themes of "Red Shirts," by John Scalzi: the obligation writers owe to their creations. 
  • Marcel Proust, Incorporated by Scott Dalrymple. (Lightspeed) Interesting pharmapunk speculation. What if a drug promoting the retention of memory had the drawback that if you stop taking the drug you will forget everything learned while taking it. From the short vignette at the beginning, to the gestures towards believability, this really worked for me. 
  • Love Engine Optimization by Matthew Kressel. (Lightspeed) In a near-future NYC, a hacker uses big data mining to win the perfect partner. Parts reminded me of Mr. Robot - the aimless awkward disaffected hacker trying to make a connection in near future Manhattan. Kressel works very hard here to keep the reader engaged with an unsavory protagonist, cheerfully sharing some aspects of the story up front but keeping the more distressing aspects until the end. The goal didn't strike me as being one of encouraging sympathy for the devil but more so the reader understand the very special fate in store for this flawed individual. 
  • Secret Keeper by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam. (Nightmare) A retaking of the phantom of the opera as though it's a very special episode of Glee. The central idea of this story, that something is owed to the teacher for the gift of instruction is deconstructed here, brought into an even more sinister light than in the original text. Nightmare published a recent re-working of Red Riding Hood, which I also enjoyed. 
***

Personal note: Today I'm also sharing chapter 58 of my web serial, "Agent Shield and Spaceman." Ithink I am under 10 chapters away from being done. I can't give an exact count because I may be tempted to cut one of the last chapters into two more parts.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Review of I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski

Even 23 years later, I remember 1994 and Kurt Cobain's death. I experienced that moment as a kind of inside out personal crisis. I felt ashamed by his death. As though his exit in someway indicted my own teenage miseries. "I wish I was like you," goes the verse in 'All Apologies,' "Easily amused." I felt as though a check I hadn't remembered writing had just been cashed. 


SP Miskowski's book, named after the first half of that line, is in the words of another reviewer, a novel that shouldn't work. The narrator is unlikeable, unreliable, and dead. The plot is almost entirely told as a flashback and long sections of the novel concern the inner processes of the writer. The daily grind to summon up enough self-esteem to carry a sentence to its logical conclusion is a real struggle, people, but it ain't exactly riveting.

But the thing is, this novel works. It is one of the best things I've read all year and a real achievement in weird ficti…

"A Breath from the Sky" Story Announcement!

I am thrilled to share the news my story, "Promontory," will appear in an upcoming anthology of unusual possession stories published by the incredible Martian Migraine Press. The anthology, "A Breath from the Sky,"puts together a classic H.P. Lovecraft tale and twenty other atypical stories of possession. Judging from the cover and the list of impressive authors, I'm anticipating pure awesomeness. "Promontory" is a possession story and one of my more overtly horror tales, so I'm overjoyed that it found a host, er, home here. I am sharing the Table of Contents below, as well as a link to the announcement on the Martian Migraine website to provide a sense of what this collection will be about. The cover is amazing, the other authors selected for the collection are amazing, and I have to say, having a story appear alongside a classic tale like HP's "Colour Out of Space," feels pretty darn amazing. I hope to provide more information abou…

In Defense of Brevity

As a writer of short speculative fiction, I am also a reader. I was a reader first and my love of the genre leads me to want to write short fiction. I think one of the most important things a writer can do is read contemporary's work. If nothing else, you're likely to be entertained - there's a great amount of stupendous short fiction available out there for exactly nothing. But it also tends to helps to develop craft. 
Long-time readers of this blog know I write up recommendations of a few short stories each month I really enjoyed. "Sic Semper, Sic Semper, Sic Semper by Carl Wiens" was my favorite story of the year. The first line of this story pretty much sums it up: "The time traveler set up a studio apartment in Abraham Lincoln’s skull in the frozen moment before Booth’s bullet burst through and rewired history," but I also enjoyed "The Girl Who Escaped from Hell" By Rahul Kanakia and "Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies," by Brooke Bol…