My Year of Short Stories: Sept 20th – Sept 27th

September 20th, 2017, Riding The Blue Line With Jack Kerouac by Sandra McDonald, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, September, 2017.

Blurb: A story about a man who meets all his favorite authors when he drives the subways in Boston. He was once a writer, before he fought in the Vietnam war.

Opinion: This is one of those stories that is fantastical in a loose sense–which is often times my favorite type of story. It’s more about the main character’s lost creativity and ambition than anything fantastical. It’s about how a man deals with a war he never wanted to fight, and the things he saw there. It’s about loss and love and the will to face that loss. Loved it.

September 21st, 2017, Disturbance In The Produce Aisle by Kit Reed, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, September, 2017.

Blurb: On the surface, a man is tempted by the demon’s that occupy a superstore, like Walmart of something.

Opinion: The metaphor here is a strong one. It seems to me to be a story about the dangers and all consuming nature of consumerism. The fact that we live in a society that if we want something we not only have the power to have it, but we SHOULD have it, and if we don’t fulfill that want, then there is something wrong with us, seems to be the subject matter of this piece. I like that, but the execution was just so-so.

September 22nd, 2017, Wind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, September, 2017.

Blurb: A story about the importance of historical context set amid a population on a generation ship, none of whom remember Earth, or will see the new world they are traveling to.

Opinion: This is a fantastic novelette that explores historical context in a world that seems not to need any. I feel this is an amazingly pertinent story for our times, as there is a collection of our (U.S.) population that either wants to discount history and say it doesn’t matter (i.e. slavery and systemically oppressive systems), or cling to a history that reinforces the status quo (i.e. Confederate monuments, flags, and other paraphernalia associated with outright, and systemically racist behaviors and institutions). To this end, if we’re going to account for half (the winners half, i.e. white privileges) of history, then we need to account for the other side as well. This story is about moving forward with the past–the whole past, in mind.

September 23rd, 2017, Dead Men In Central City by Carrie Vaughn, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, September, 2017.

Blurb: A vampire western: enough said.

Opinion: While this story is well written for what it is, it doesn’t really touch on any deeper concepts for me. That and the vampire aspect of it is completely extracurricular that isn’t essential to plot, so why was it even a thing? I believe, in terms of fantastical literature (be it of the SF or F variety) the SF or F aspects of the piece MUST but essential to plot, or else I’m left wondering, like in this instance, why the hell was the main character a vampire? that just didn’t need to be in there.

September 24th, 2017, Arriving At Terminal: Xi’s Story by James Gunn, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, September, 2017.

Blurb: A story about a galactic civilization and how power transfers hands.

Opinion: This piece is written in what I’d call a classic Asimovian style. It’s quite dry. Rather heady on concept and light on character. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it did create distance from the main character, which seems to be what the author wanted as “this person” is an alien from some far distant planet and Human’s only make a brief cameo.

September 25th, 2017, Zigeuner by Harry Turtledove, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, September, 2017.

Blurb: An alternate reality of WWII. The alternate part doesn’t come in until the end, which is an, “oh,” moment, so I’ll not ruin it for you.

Opinion: WWII has just been written about so often that the gravitas has dissipated. The point of this story is to illustrate that anyone, any type of people could have been seduced by Hitler’s rhetoric given the circumstances in which the Third Reich rose to power. It’s a well written piece, but nothing seemed new about it.

September 26th, 2017, Squamous And Eldritch Get A Yard Sale Bargain by Tby Tim McDaniel, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, September, 2017.

Blurb: Two arcane bookshop owners seek to buy a mystical book from an ignorant woman.

Opinion: I don’t enjoy humor writing that much. I don’t typically laugh while reading. This is a goofy tale, but nothing that really grabbed me since the tension didn’t seem to be there.

September 27th, 2017, The Fourth Hill by Harry Dennis E. Staples, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, September, 2017.

Blurb: A young Native American boy, growing up on a reservation in the near future struggles with the abandonment of his parents, the return of his brother from family disownment, and the fear of loss.

Opinion: This is the story that will make me an Asimov’s subscriber. Weeks ago I cancelled my subscription of Cemetery Dance Magazine, because I felt it provided platforms to those that are part of the status quo far more than authors of under represented people. While Asimov’s doesn’t publish as many people of color as they could, or perhaps, should, this story certainly shows that the editor sees value in stories about other peoples, separate from herself, in terms of culture, heritage, etc. Fiyah, is also a fantastic magazine that only publishes peoples from the African diaspora, to which I also subscribe.

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