Stories read this week include Saladin Ahmed, Genevieve Valentine, John Chu, and Karin Tidbeck.
"Doctor Diablo Goes Through the Motions" by Saladin Ahmed, Podcastle, March 17, 2013
A neat audio flash. Podcastle and EscapePod are brilliant at publishing superhero stories that subvert the genre. I enjoyed this one because it posited progressive social justice solutions for disenfranchised people from a conservative point of view. I liked the black comedy of the idea that only "evil" people would come up with progressive ideas.
"Terrain" by Genevieve Valentine, Tor.com, March 6, 2013
This story was slow grim reading, but I stuck with it to the end as it had a lot to say about the treatment of PoC and Native Americans in the American West, as well as gender roles. Not my usual reading style, but well structured with steampunk overtones.
"The Water That Falls on you from Nowhere" by John Chu, Tor.com, February 20, 2013
I really like reading stories with different voices. This is a story of coming out in a Chinese family. It borders on the literary because the speculative nature (when you lie, it rains) is almost an after thought. Many may criticize this minimalism as being inconsequential to the story, but I liked it - it informed the threads of conversation style throughout the story, how people had to be careful how they framed their words, adding an excruciating politeness and double speak on top of already layered human interaction. Taut finish.
"I Have Laid My Sickness Upon You" by Karin Tidbeck, Strange Horizons, March 4, 2013
Story of the week. It takes an outstanding story to make me cry, and Tidbeck hit all the right notes with her subtle grace. What starts out as absurdest evolves into a beautiful criticism of the failures of certain mental health structures alongside criticism of animal testing. Dig even deeper, and one might suggest that SadGoat is also metaphor for mental health professionals - who looks after them with all the burdens placed upon them?
I also really dig the naming of SadGoat - it's going into my lexicon. And Tidbeck's Tiptree shortlisted anthology "Jagannath" is now on my e-reader.
The finale is absolutely heart wrenching. Don't start reading without tissues on hand.