Weekly Fiction Rec Roundup 8

It’s time for another Weekly Fiction Rec Roundup! I came across a two new online magazines in my reading-wandering this week, and one of them is all flash length fiction. Now, as I’m very much into flash and micro fiction this got my attention, so I’m recommending two of their stories this week (a Roundup first!). I think there’s a nice broad group of stories this week. As usual, I hope you’ll find something you enjoy. And if you do, I hope you’ll share it with others!

“Worldbuilding” by Alex Shvartsman from The Arcanist

Alex Shvartsman’s work as a translator appeared in the 2nd Weekly Fiction Roundup, but this flash piece is all his own, and, as befits the (clearly multi-talented) editor of the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology this story is fun, funny, lighthearted, and with a twist I truly did not see coming.

“Full Circle” by Karel Smolders from The Arcanist

The second rec this week from The Arcanist is a time travel story! If you’ve been following along with these Roundup posts you’ll know I’ve pledged my allegiance to team time-travel-story several times. Flash is, I think, often the perfect size for a great time travel story. It allows writers to riff on some of the incredibly well known tropes of the genre and really have fun with them. This story does exactly that. I also love that the title has more than a single relevance to the story.

“Obscura” by Yoon Ha Lee from Strange Horizons

Another common thing you’ll read here in these Roundups is “This is one of my favorite authors!” Sometimes that’s because I fill in space with previously read favorite stories of mine I want to share, but lately I’ve just been getting lucky and coming across newly published work by some of my, yes, favorite authors. This is the latest such case. Yoon Ha Lee’s The Machineries of Empire is one of the series of novels I’m currently obsessed with (seriously, I even took one of those online “which Hexarchate faction would you be” quizzes”* about it’s setting).

THIS story though, has nothing to do with that series at all. When I recommended it on Mastodon I described this quiet, thoughtful piece about a fourteen year old coming to terms with the dissolution of their family and encountering a photographer with a very special camera as having “deep waters”. I also said I needed to sit with it more and I still do. There is a lot to think about here, including what it is saying about how the role absences in our lives & ourselves help define us.

“The Mountain” by Vandana Singh from Mithila Issue 9

Mithila is the other magazine I came across that was new to me. It’ll stay on my radar now. I really liked this piece as it gives us a familiar scenario in the broad strokes: a child starts becoming aware of their own growing up and changing perspective. But, by choosing a POV different from what I usually expect to see in such a story (this story is happening *now* and in very close 3rd person as opposed to as a reminiscence of omniscient 3rd) it boils the bitter of of bittersweet and leaves us with something I think is far better. And with just a little but not too much of a speculative fiction sensibility added in I think it actually dials up the sense of wonder.

“Caretaker” by Eden Royce from Abyss & Apex Issue 65

Eden Royce is now the third repeat author I’ve highlighted in these Roundups. Coincidentally, her first story was also rec’d in the 2nd Roundup, along with the K.A. Teryna story Alex Shvartsman translated. This story has a nice, classic, SF frame to it, though I don’t want to come out and say what exactly that is for fear of spoilers. I will say I enjoyed the burgeoning friendship between the two main characters, and the parts of the story that reflect on how our experiences and the feelings associated with them can infuse and change the meaning of things, that are, but for temporal coincidence, completely unrelated.

“Through the Eye of the Needle” by AJ Fitzwater from GigaNotoSaurus

Last week the Roundup started long and ended short, this week we’re reversing things.  While The Arcanist is a market that focuses solely on short-short fiction, GigaNotoSaurus sits at the other end of the spectrum focusing exclusively on things “longer than a short story but shorter than a novel”. That said, some of their stories, like this one, don’t quite reach novelette length and remain, as far as the Hugo Award short fiction category rules are concerned, a short story (if a long one).

This fantasy tale gives us a burgeoning friendship of a completely different sort as a two powerful being (one a dragon!) try to navigate, and escape, their imprisonment by an even more powerful being (The Mistress). Its a great story, and well written (the opening lines are fantastic). Sometimes when I’ve finished a story I find myself wishing I could experience it again, but in a different format. This story I would kill for in graphic novel/comic form. The visuals are stunning and I’d love to see them “come to life”. As with all the stories in the Roundup, this is definitely recommended.

That’s it for this week. Hope you find something to enjoy. Hope you find something you enjoy so much you fell compelled to spread the word! And remember you can always find all the Roundups collected here.

(*Oh, and my Hexarchate faction is Nirai)

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