Week 4! We’ve made it a month! Also, for the second week in a row I have a full compliment of 7 stories to share with you (though over on Mastodon I had to double up the recs one day to hit it as flu laid me low and broke my daily streak over there). You can now find a list of links to all the Weekly Roundups here.
This week we have a range of things, including a couple stories that really hit the 2017 feels for me, our first repeat author, and something incredibly fun. Of course, they’re all worth reading or I wouldn’t have recommended them. Finally, a special note: Many of the magazines these stories come from are taking a significant financial hit right now (through no fault of their own) due to the current fiasco happening with Patreon (which is Patreon’s fault). If you enjoy short fiction I urge you to consider supporting the places that produce it, if you can, in whatever method available you’re comfortable with.
I really enjoy stories like this. Full of beautiful language that is a special kind of joy to read all by itself; a glimpse of a complicated, truly far-future-feeling setting we can just sort of grasp an understanding of; and, at its heart, the true story, something universally human and simple: in this case love and the difficulties of trying to make a relationship work.
A hard story with a glimmer of hope of a Mech pilot on an alien world unsure how to start coming to terms with the end of years of war. How can you move forward when the fighting that cost you parts of your body, parts of your memories, your loved ones, and your squad is over? I have a feeling the answer might be applicable to many of us when they current era we riding is over.
Here’s our first repeat author. I was planning to try and actively avoid repeats so early in this project, but timing worked against that. My first rec of Troy’s work in Week 2 was one of my previously read favorites I pull out when I don’t otherwise have a story to recommend on a particular day (either because I didn’t read one or didn’t like what I read enough to share it). This one dropped this week and I had to read it, and having read it I had to share it. Because it’s very good.
A story of gods born from the horror and pain of slavery and one of these new gods’ quest to find something like justice for the people who birthed him. And how twisted the pursuit for something like justice can become under the crushing weight of oppression.
This was the first story of the week I read that felt like a perfect 2017 story to me. I said at the time I shared it on Mastodon that I’d almost wish I’d left it for the 30th or 31st, but you never know when someone might need just the right story. And as I said then, maybe that’s you today. Maybe this story is it.
Hate and vengeance and grief and mourning and love and knowing that sometimes you just carry.
Ok, I think it’s important to be upfront with the fact that this story is fairly dark and gruesome, much more so than most stories I recommend. It ran in Esacpe Pod, but could easily (in my opinion) have fit in with their horror cousin Pseudopod or over at Nightmare Magazine. However, it fit my mood at the time I read it, and I think it fits the year in how it explores the costs on our humanity of living within dehumanizing systems and the costs of ignoring the lessons of the past.
This is a new piece of flash from Fireside Fiction. It’s about AI and sentience and the uncanny valley and a creepy tech guru who might be the most honest about the problems with the things he’s doing even as he does them. Like most good flash it’s a great way to get a big dose of wonderful speculative fiction in a quick bite.
OK folks, after all the heavy themes and 2017ness of the above (very good!) stories it was very nice to end out the week, and this weekly roundup with something unabashedly FUN. It’s longer than a lot of what I share, but it’s fast-paced, wacky, wild, pulpy (and did I mention FUN), space adventure.
I desperately hope Charlie Jane Anders writes more Kango and Sharon adventures and I’m going on record as calling for an ongoing comic series and an animated television series on Netflix. This is something I need much more of in my life, and I hope you all enjoy it just as much. (And if you do maybe we can start some kind of campaign for that animated or comic series)
Important note: This last story was brought to my attention by Charles Payseur of Quick Sip Reviews who was doing a personal short SFF fiction recommendation-a-thon over the weekend.
OK. Happy reading and I’ll be back with more stories for you next week.