I promised myself in my less commitments side of Swancon, that I’d read more, that I’d read for fun and that I’d start pulling my weight at Last Short Story. I feel a strong desire to keep up with what is being published in a year because it’s my business to. I feel like if I want to be aiming to publish some of the best short stories in the year, I should be really across what else is being published, where and by who. And having taken a break, or rather, admitting defeat in 2010, I feel like I’m back with avengence.
This time round, I’m aiming to keep up from early on. I want to stay on top of the top outlets. And I also want to work on reading the works I am expecting to enjoy first up so that I get to them, so that I don’t leave novellas to the end and so that I don’t have a mad rush in October of 300 really really good stories to read before Nov 1.
I’m aiming to at least post once a week with my week’s highlights.
This weeks are:
“Dunyon” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch in Asimov‘s July. I’d actually just recently been listening to a podcasted interview with Rusch where she was talking about her various writing projects, pen names and process. I realised that I had likely been reading the wrong genre of her work and that perhaps her more SF stories might appeal to me. She was talking about how she was bringing her backlist to ebooks and how this has enabled her to continue working in her recurring SF’nal universe. And after I saw “Dunyon” in the latest issue of Asimovs, I realised that these shorts were what she was talking about – that she uses these to work through or move various plot aspects for her novels. After reading “Dunyon” I think I’ll go looking for more of her work set in this world.
This story reminded me a bit of what I’ve read of Bujold. I’m a sucker for space station stories. I like the every day worlds that are constricted by being stuck in space and I love the kinds of stories that can be told via passerbys by through stations. I love airports and the potential they offer – of new and exciting worlds and experiences. Space stations are just the futuristic version of them. This is a space station story. It’s clunky in places but it also touches on very real emotions and paints an all too real and familiar scenario about people looking to escape their lives and situations – people seeking refuge in a refugee crisis.
“The Messenger” by Bruce McAllister is also from July’s Asimov‘s . It’s a time travel story. I like me my time travel stories especially if the logic in it starts to make my nose bleed. This is a kind of simple time travel story – guy goes back in time to ask his mother a question. Can he affect the future by talking to the past? I kinda like the way contemporary time travel fiction is sort of agreeing that you can’t. It at least moves us on from the … but what if I kill my grandmother? paradox stories. This story is a little bit sad. I liked it.
“Frostbitten” by Kirstyn McDermott in More Scary Kisses. The line, “He moans as he pushes himself into her, and Nina’s glad she bothered to pre-lube back in the club’s bathroom before they left.” made me laugh so hard that I had to go take a break from reading for a bit. I’ve said elsewhere this week that I’m really enjoying McDermott’s work and here is another example. She has a very easy, very smooth writing style which is such a pleasure to absorb and let wrap itself around you. Even when she is describing the most debauched or nefarious of things. “Frostbitten” is a story about love. And I guess, when you love someone, you have to set them free, even if you know they aren’t coming back. Or maybe, even when you love someone, that doesn’t mean they are good or right for you. Sometimes, lust and passion are abusive. And love for yourself must override your desire. Anyway. This story will leave you cold.