Monday, January 28, 2013

365 Project: Stories Read as of 26/1/2013

This is the first week of the 365 Project. I promised I would read a short story a day, but of course moving house got in the way. I did read some good stories this past week though before the energy demons broke the toothpicks holding my eyelids open, and here they are:


"Trixie and the Pandas of Dread" by Eugie Foster, Apex Magazine January 1, 2013
Remember Aphrodite from Xena? Give her some brains, make her a vengeful goddess smiter riding on Pandas and...you don't have Aphrodite at all. I loved this story, chuckled all the way through. WoC goddesses kicking ass and taking names, all with plenty of glitter and unicorns. In fact, I loved it so much I went looking for Foster's website and back catalogue, and bought her 2009 collection "Returning my Sister's Face, and other far eastern tales of whimsy and malice", from which I read...

"The Tiger Fortune Princess" by Eugie Foster, "Returning my Sister's Face, and other far eastern tales of whimsy and malice", 2009.
A lovely Chinese influenced reworking of a smash up of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, which shows Foster's early potential. A fairly traditional fairy tale, told with ease, flow, and spare language that paints a beautiful canvas in a few quick strokes.

"Inventory" by Carmen Maria Machado, Strange Horizons, January 14, 2013
A post apocalyptic erotica story, in which the bisexual protagonist copes with their drastically changing world by listing their lovers and what each meant at each stage of the plague that sweeps the nation. Very much  reminds me of a character from Valente's 'Palimpsest' that makes lists as coping mechanism in a changing environment. Sparse, ruthless and increasingly desperate, with a breathless finish.

"Free Bird" by Caren Gussof, "Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler scholars", edited by Nisi Shawl
A story lifted a novel in progress, about a young woman left behind on Earth by her alien family as an observer. She is raised by a Roma family, and a lovely use of language and familial ties arises from this environment. Definite potential.

This anthology is only for sale as an e-book until June, and is a fundraiser for writers of colour to attend the Clarion Workshops.

"Variations on Bluebeard and Dalton's Law Along the Event Horizon" by Helena Bell, Clarkesworld, January 2013
I love stories that screw with your brain. I try to write them too, and they come off as a bit pretentious. This one is fantastic - prose from beginning to end, and sometimes in these cases it doesn't matter if they don't make a lick of sense! The imagery is very powerful. With a bit of Googling I'll figure this one out a bit better later. It starts to come together at the end, but I don't care - the prose was super chewy. Read late at night by the glow of my phone screen, it was awesome to have my head so completely done in.

"Désiré" by Megan Arkenburg, Crossed Genres 001, January 2013
From the first pro-paying issue of CG's revamped magazine, with the theme of "Boundaries", comes this lush story about an enigmatic composer. There's a familiarity of setting in the piece (Renaissance Europe transferred to a galactic colony) which adds to the pathos - even though it's SF set 800 years in the future, the prejudices and social restraints of today remain. Told through snippets from news articles, reviews, and letters, the full horror of the prejudices and boundaries set by the society is not fully revealed until the final snippet. A beautifully subtle piece that had me thinking it over (for prose, structure, and excellent reveal) many days after.


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