Weekly Fiction Rec Roundup 7

Missed another week there with frustrating issues (like my hard drive dying!) but the Roundup is back this week with 5 more stories I enjoyed and hope you will too. I should say there are quite a variety of themes, styles, and lengths going on this week across these 5 tales, so even if everything isn’t to your liking probably something will be. So let’s get this going. It starts with one of my favorite authors.

“A World to Die For” by Tobias S. Buckell from Clarkesworld Issue 136

One of the longest stories I’ve featured, but I don’t want to say too much about it, because *spoilers*. What I will say: this novelette starts off feeling very Mad-Max-like, and then it gets even funkier and turns the scifi dial up to 11. I’ll also say, on the day I went casting about for a story to read and saw a Tobias Buckell story in the TOC for Clarkesworld I jumped right in, because Buckell is one of my must read authors and, once again, I wasn’t disappointed.

“The Best Friend We Never Had” by Nisi Shawl from Apex Magazine Issue 104

This one is brings us some gritty near(ish) future scifi that feels all too possible with corporations, corruption, exploitation of workers and prisoners, and a sense of hopelessness that all gets wrapped up in some comprehensive world building. But, at it’s core it’s about going home and the sometimes bitter experience that can be when home both is and isn’t what we remembered.

“The Hydraulic Emperor” by Arkady Martine from Uncanny Issue 20

This one really knocked my socks off. Uncanny Magazine just keeps knocking it out of the park. There is so much going on in this story about a far-future film collector and the alien auction her quest to finally see her personal holy grail of film takes her to. It’s one of those stories, the really good kind, where all the world building & scifi coolness work to let us delve into some very deep depths of humanity. Seriously, there are levels at work in this. No story will resonate with every reader, but this is one of those that if it gets to you will really get to you. And, as I think a deep longing for something at at least some point in our life is a pretty near-universal feeling, I think this is more likely to get to you than not.

“Benefactors of Silence” by Nin Harris from Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue 243

Changing gears and dipping our toes into some fantasy with this one. It’s a quieter piece, as befitting it’s title, that gives us a story of two people existing together, for a short time, in a war-torn home, in a war-torn city. They live in a sort of ceasefire defined by routine and bare acknowledgement, trapped by wildly different perspectives on and memories of a single piece of music.

“Lies Time Travelers Tell” by Tony Pisculli from Daily Science Fiction

We began with one of my longest story recommendations so let’s finish with one of my shortest. This one is micro fiction, and I have to say I do enjoy that shortest of the short fiction formats (just poke around, I’ve certainly written enough of it myself!). One of my favorite aspects of micro fiction is how, given the brief wordage involved, the title often becomes absolutely integral to telling the story. As is the case with this one.

That’s it for this week. Hope you found something to enjoy. Don’t forget you can find a listing of all my Roundups here.

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