This weeks stories were by Thoraiya Dyer, Shaenon Garrity, M. Bennardo, April L'Orange, and Jasmine M. Templet.
"Sleeping Beauty" by Thoraiya Dyer, Cosmos, 22 February, 2013
This story would not have been out of place in "Fat Girl In A Strange Land" - a genetically modified woman sleeps off her weight like a bear, and in a post-apocalyptic world is exalted as an earth goddess. I enjoyed the idea of a woman being worshipped for her size and the prosperity it can bring, though there were a couple problematic images eg: comparing eating to a pig. The science was also a little iffy as well - while it outlined the concept of the use of bear genes (hence the hibernation), it didn't explain why and how she got so fat so easily, only that she had a great appetite (again, problematic).
"Punk Voyager" by Shaenon Garrity, EscapePod, 24 January, 2013
My absolute favourite of the week, that had me crying with laughter. Completely irreverent, leave your brain at the door. Language warning also. Absolute win for the idea of Reagan and Bush Snr being 'cock punched' by douchebag aliens - best scene in the whole story.
"The Herons of Mer de l'Ouest" by M. Bennardo, Lightspeed, February 2013
Bennardo is a name that is cropping up more and more lately in many venues (including "Menial"). It's great to see his work getting more reach. A dreamy frontier story of loss, death and communication. If you're like me whose history is a little watery, read the author spotlight for more insight on the setting. I was especially creeped out by the scene describing the clearing littered with bones.
"Mother of Waters" by April L'Orange, Crossed Genres Magazine #3 "Myth", March 2013
An absolute home run of a story, mixing the golem myth with Wiccan philosophy, feminism, disability, and climate change. Really well rounded, satisfying yet sad. Really classy character building, with a finale still prescient today, considering an up swell in real life "witch hunts" around the world (especially Papua New Guinea).
"Leviathan" by Jasmine M. Templet, Menial: Skilled Labor in Science Fiction, Crossed Genres Publications, January 2013
Another of the Menial stories that only just starts to get going when it ends. However, I think the abrupt ending works, because it leaves one with the sense of the unending toil required. A bit of a mixture of a story that finally settles into comedy by the third quarter. Not sure how necessary the Men In Black/Get Smart set up was - the extraneous characters were too cliche, with some unnecessary fat and gay jokes. The pay off was fun and interesting, but took too much world building to get there.