Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #112

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New cover art, starting with BCS on Mar. Starting with BCS on Aug. BCS is out, featuring two new BCS authors, new cover art, a guest-narrated podcast, and a signed novel giveaway. To learn more or to enter, visit this post. Starting with BCS on Oct. Starting with BCS next week on Dec. Christian K. Colorado author C. It features a knight not unlike the one in " Kurtana ," facing strange challenges of a shifting geographical landscape rather than a shifting mental landscape.

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Articles on this Page showing articles 1 to 20 of Channel Description: Literary Adventure Fantasy. Two patients get out of the psych ward the same day and build a snowman in the courtyard to cheer up the other residents. Unlike some of the comments posted below the story, I don't think the title is off-base. Thinking of the snowman as a stand-in for the patients collectively, as well as individually , and assuming a patient was responsible for that final act of destruction, it can be read as suicide more than homicide.

Another way the author packs a lot of meaning into a very short story. Great idea. I tried it for a point last year and managed about OK for a while then sadly fell off the wagon. It did increase my reading of short stories significantly which is a good thing. It looks like your message got truncated!

Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #112

Published online in Subterranean Press Magazine , Fall Read in PDF form Hugo voters packet I actually started reading this novelette yesterday and intended to finish it yesterday, but we're dealing with a couple of sick kitties, plus to be honest the story wasn't holding my attention, which is shocking for a Ted Chiang story. Poor guy; his amazing track record with short fiction means that many readers, myself included, place unreasonable expectations on him.

In this story, a man is researching about something called Remem to write an article about it. Remem is a technology that instantly calls up video recordings of any moment in your life most people are recording 24 hour lifelogs. So if I were to think "didn't I eat at this restaurant a few years ago? The narrator questions what this change from organic, imperfect memory will mean, and learns a lot about his relationship with his daughter. Interspersed throughout this is a story about a West African people named the Tiv, and what happens when one of them learns to write, so that he is then able to record events rather than relying on cultural memory.

As always with a Ted Chiang story, this was thoughtful and asked big questions, but it felt more think-y and less story-like than usual. Chiang often runs a thin line between essay and story but that one just had too much of the latter. Published in Daily Science Fiction on May 14, This is a cute story told from the POV of the robot overlords, who pretend to give the smarter humans a chance at a career, but really only want to keep them busy. And the super-smart humans Anthology published ; story originally published in Realms of Fantasy , August This is a nicely written story about how far parents should and shouldn't go to protect their children.

Published in Harrowing the Dragon by Patricia A. McKillip collection. Story originally published in Voyages: The 25th World Fantasy Collection ; this collection published This is a short, fairly simplistic fantasy story about a mage who is required by his prince to find virgins to lure the unicorn to its death, because he wants the horn's antidote properties for his upcoming wedding. As always, McKillip's language is beautiful. But because of the language, I raised it to three stars. McKillip's writing really is lovely. MacLeod , in his collection Voyages by Starlight. I kept flipping forward to see how many pages were left and I stopped at about halfway through.

The premise is that some tragedy appears to have happened to an older, beloved son; the father gives the younger son a complicated airplane model to build, one that the older son had aspired to. The younger son tries and tries but it's incredibly difficult. I think it was heading towards a horror story of some kind possession, insanity, etc. This is quite a short flash piece at words, and it's general fiction rather than my usual genre. It's a quite effective little piece about a man whose wife has died from a lingering illness. This flash story, at just under 1K words, is from the POV of an elderly woman, on whom the New Woman in the building checks up every day.

The "New Woman" does not, alas, simply mean "new resident.

Published in Daily Science Fiction on January 28, This is a nicely done story written as an online news article, complete with indications where there would be links, infographics, and a related video. It gets the tone of the article absolutely spot-on, not surprising considering the author is a journalist.


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The article's main "interviewee" is a doctor who intends to work on a cure, against arguments that say resources should be spent on adaptation. I was very impressed with the "article's" balance between the factual information and the human interest angle. Published in Every Day Fiction on December 20, This short flash piece is about memory, and the way we now record and share every moment, even ones we shouldn't, via social media. Interesting juxtaposition with the Ted Chiang story read this month, in terms of society recording everything.

This was done reasonably well, and I really liked the way the man's system kept asking him questions Play again? Like this page? But it ultimately fell a little over the "disjointed" line for me, so it wasn't as effective as it otherwise might have been. Tagging them so I can find all stories and sort them by rating so I can see which were the top ones, which will come in handy for award nominations, and also for writing a monthly blog round-up post.

An editor I respect once told me that the point of reviews is to tell the good and bad things about basically good works. Story 42 1 in February. I found this story based on someone's online recommended reading list for award nominations.

It's about an artificial intelligence created by the "Left," that seeks revenge when agents human or AI or both on the "Right" instigate a political assassination that also kills of its two human mothers. I liked this a lot, but I don't feel that it completely fulfilled its potential. There were a few places in that had either typos or deliberate choices that were confusing, so that I had to read the same sentence over several times to figure out the meaning. I also couldn't decide whether the confusion was partly down to the writers loss of control, insomuch as she had created a level of complexity that proved problematic for her.

I don't feel that's an assumption I should make, but to me it did not read as though written by someone whose first language was English. Story 43 2 in February. Wow, only my second day into February and I've already read one that I consider a 5-star story! Only this ship is not in its original form; it's been cobbled together from the remains of two other ships, and remembers both of their deaths. It has to balance the programmed love it feels for its pilot with its own feelings of fear and grief.

Lovely story, very well told. Story 44 3 in February. Originally published in Eclipse 3 , edited by Jonathan Strahan ; published here in Clarkesworld , February This story is about a venture capitalist trying to land a big contract. Her buddy offers to help her get the contract, and asks for her medical records. She lands the big contract, by being the bidder who manages to pick up a female stripper in a bar -- they just "connect" instantly. She's devastated to find out that her "friend" dosed both her and the stripper well in advance with some experimental drug so they would instantly feel like they knew each other, and would know what would please the other one during sex.

I had some issues with this story. First, I didn't find a single likeable character in it. Second, it depended on the big CEO being such a completely predictable asshole that he would award the contract based solely on how the bidders behaved in a strip club. I do believe that some corporate assholes do behave badly, and that some might be capable of taking that kind of BS into account.

But this assumes either that the CEO either weighs that very heavily in his awarding of a jillion-dollar contract, or that it's only a tie-breaker, which means that conveniently all else was equal between Cody's bid and her competition's bid. Story 45 4 in February. Published in Daily Science Fiction on February 4, This is part of an ongoing series of food-related flash fiction on Daily Science Fiction.

The author is quickly becoming one of my favorite flash fiction writers, and I did enjoy this story about a witch with a business degree that decides to grow meat on trees, now that talking animal spells means eating large animals is forbidden, but this didn't really move me. It was fun and well-written, but not memorable for me. Story 46 5 in February. This is a nice story, told from the POV of a mechanical woman who has marched with her Suffragette creator and apprehended dangerous criminals that had eluded the authories, yet she is packed away in a crate when her creator dies and nobody knows what to do with her.

On the one hand, I liked the way the story was told in moments, by ticks of the mechanical woman's internal gears. But the disjointedness, which I believe was deliberate, did actually make it hard for me to understand what happened when and why. Story 47 6 in February. This short story is about a young man who loses his arm in a farming and wakes to find his parents have authorized him to receive the newest in prosthetic technology, a metal arm that communicates with a chip implanted in his head. For some reason, though, even though he lives in Saskatchewan, his new arm thinks it is a kilometer long stretch of road in Colorado.

Later, his chip is replaced when it becomes infected and the arm no longer acts strangely; he is both relieved and saddened by this. This story has quite nice writing on the prose level, but the plot feels completely random to me, almost as though the author dreamed it one night, then decided to turn it into a story even though it doesn't really make sense. I mean, why would a computer chip think an arm is a stretch of road, as opposed to a blender or a toaster or something technological?

What would have happened if the main character left his farm and went to Colorado to the road -- would the arm be happy if the farmer just stood there looking at the road the arm thought it was? I wanted to like this story more, but I lost patience with the unexplained randomness. I don't think I want everything in every story explained, but this lost me.

I wonder if the question as to why a road "as opposed to a blender or a toaster or something technological? When we start linking every little thing together, on a societal scale, what should we expect? Anyway, your reaction to the story got me thinking of that, and it's an interesting point regardless of whether the story supports it nor not. I guess it felt off to me because the chip is a bit of thinking technology, and it believes it's not only an inanimate object but one that doesn't have easily defined boundaries as an object.

It felt as random as an apple deciding one day that it really is a particular area of the sky, or that it's thoughtfulness, or something else that is abstract. On the other hand, I'm thinking about the story Sometimes I think that all time spent thinking about a story or a piece of art is time well spent, at least from the POV of its creator. Oh, yeah! My small experience of that is with reviews here on LT, or reactions to a post.

But the dynamic is much the same: I may not get all praise and admiration, but whatever response I provoke is almost always better than silence. Story 48 7 in February. Anthology published Unfortunately, this story didn't work for me at all. The premise is that a man with a questionable past leaves Scotland for the New World, where he assumes an identity. He makes more mistakes, and changes identity again, moving further west.

After a few more changes, he finally lives out his life in peace, only to be gunned down in his old age by a "youth on a killing spree," whom the narrator notes was likely Jack the Ripper under an assumed identity. I don't know if the narrator makes this leap based on the man's face shown on the "Wanted" poster, or if it's due to a bit of poetry scrawled on the back -- but if he's basing it on the poetry, there's no reason to assume the killer himself wrote that poetry on the back of the poster, so I completely don't get how this is "proof.

It's also an extremely short story, so I found it a little gimmicky. Story 49 8 in February. Published in Daily Science Fiction on February 6, This is a nicely written story about a woman, who happened to be the first human born on this particular alien planet, who is suffering from dementia towards the end of her life. She feels that she has a unique connection with the planet, and with a particular tree, that her concerned family doesn't understand. Story 50 9 in February. This story is about a Scottish man in who has just successfully demonstrated his prototype rail plane to investors.

He is astonished when a bonobo named Mrs. Blanchflower, dressed as a human woman would be, tells him that he will die broken-hearted in , his rail plane a forgotten folly in the face of the next great war. The bonobo is from a future in which the rail plane succeeds, and claims that it cut off all other innovation; she strands him in that future so that she has a better chance of succeeding with her invention in hers.

I felt like the logic of the branching futures was extremely fuzzy, and that I could try to understand it all day, but I'd be frustrated no matter what. Blanchflower claims that in most of the timelines she's visited, the rail plane never succeeds, yet she is determined to stop it from succeeding in this one -- but apparently someone else has been successful with the same concept? I'm not sure. The fact that she's a fourth-generation genetically engineered bonobo also seems tacked on.

And if his rail plane stifles all innovation, how would we get to the point where we could genetically engineer bonobos to that extent anyway? Overall I was left feeling dissatisfied. Story 51 10 in February. Published in Every Day Fiction on February 8, This story is told in second person, by a woman remembering when she was a very young, aspiring writer. She is reflecting on the fact that her much older male editor or publisher inappropriately tried to kiss her, permanently tainting her once pure writing dreams.

Another example of juxtaposition that I suspect is coloring my perception of this story: I just finished reading Scott Westerfeld's Afterworlds about an year-old who just got handed a very lucrative publishing contract and I'm a bit impatient with writers who take themselves so very seriously. I do understand that writing is a calling about which people feel passionately, but I have come across a few too many writers who think they are so, so precious.

For instance, I've seen writers with very few publications already discussing to which university library they should bequeath their "papers. I don't know a thing about this author.

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But I think this was just the wrong time for me to read this story. Story 52 11 in February. Originally published in Nature , ; published here as a Kindle short. Read as Kindle e-book This short felt a little like it was trying too hard to be clever. The premise is that humans have used up all potential, so our immortal god-like descendants are incredibly bored and spend most of their time immersed in simulations of our times, brainwashed to not know who or what they are so that the experience will be more authentic.

Story 53 12 in February. Published in Daily Science Fiction on February 9, I feel like I keep using the phrase "this is a nicely written story," but it's true once again. In this short-short, a little girl notices a glitch in the sky that nobody else seems to carry about.

I would have liked more, but I appreciate the vignette-ness of this piece. Story 54 13 in February. I don't normally read The New Yorker and might easily have missed this little gem if I hadn't been looking at reading recommendations posted by SFWA members for the purpose of Nebula Award nominations. And yes, this is that Tom Hanks. And this story about a quickie little trip around the Moon with friends is charming, sweet, and funny. Story 55 14 in February. Published in Daily Science Fiction on February 10, This is a sweet story about sad but calm reactions in the face of an impending apocalypse.

While I don't really believe that most people would act that calmly, somehow it's lovely to witness when they do. Story 56 15 in February. Published in Unexpected Stories by Octavia Butler, This novelette is one of two works included in an e-book "collection" of previously unpublished Butler work that came out last year. It's about a species that is divided into castes based on the color of each individual's fur, and how much blue it contains.

Purely blue individuals are called Hao and are sought as rulers. Because they are rare, tribes sometimes have to steal Hao from each other, then cripple them so they cannot run away. A female Hao of a desert tribe is chagrined when a young male Hao enters their territory; she longs for his company as she has not seen another Hao since her own father died, but regrets that her duty compels her to capture him so that he can be maimed. Octavia Butler is one of my favorite writers and her work is always thoughtful and thought-provoking.

I look forward to reading the one other story in this volume. Story 57 16 in February. This is very short, under words, and consists of a letter from a parent who gave her son a "Flight Chew" in his lunch with different results than usual. It was cute, but made me want to ask why the kid hadn't starved to death yet. Story 58 17 in February. This is a funny story. The title is self explanatory! Story 59 18 in February.

Again, I don't normally read The New Yorker but I posted on Facebook about the Tom Hanks story from the other day, and someone posted back and mentioned this little Pride and Prejudice -related humor piece. It was cute, but more just a novelty than anything else. Story 60 19 in February. This story free this week on QuarterReads is told by an adult addressing schoolchildren in a world where plant life has become aggressive and taken over almost all of the planet, in part by colonizing humans. The POV is first person, with the narrator occasionally interrupting herself I think it's a her to address the children directly.

It's exactly the right length for the story, and has a clever play on the "an apple for the teacher" cliche. This is my favorite of the stories I've read on QuarterReads so far. Story 61 20 in February. This story is about a girl who gets a job at historical Lower Fort Garry in Manitoba, Canada, playing one of the reenactment roles for the tourists.

Soon she finds that rhymes come to her from strange sources, and that people who repeat them after her then do her bidding. The story was well-written, and because my husband is from rural Manitoba, that was of especial interest to me. I did find it a bit confusing as to whether her childhood friend was possessed in the same way, or kept his own personality the whole time but still had the power to remove the witch's spirit from her.

Somehow the story was just not as clean or clear as I wanted it to be. Story 62 21 in February. Published in Daily Science Fiction on February 17, In this story, a man is contemplating heading off to a colony world where the equivalent of a gold rush is taking place; he flips a coin that has had his love's consciousness transmuted in it to make some relevant decisions.

I started out thinking this was a man whose wife was in a tragic accident and that he was nobly trying to save her for the future in the only way he could, but it turns out that she had left him, and was rendered unconscious when he hired someone to bring her back. I think the reader is supposed to go through this change in understanding, but it's still quite confusing. For instance, the narrator says that Randall, the guy he hired to bring her back, wouldn't face charges for knocking her unconscious I assume this went badly and her life was in danger because of how "high up" he is, but that implies Randall is some kind of untouchable bigwig -- hardly the type to take this kind of work for hire.

Also, the coin, in its flips, can only answer the questions that the narrator poses. It's not clear to me how he got to the point of talking about giving her his body and uploading himself to the computer. In fact, that question or more than one is missing between the attempts to get her account password, and the point where he decides the coin is saying she wants his body. Interesting, but a lot of this was unclear to me, unfortunately. I actually had trouble explaining my confusion, which makes me even more confused! Story 63 22 in February.

Published in Daily Science Fiction on February 16, In this tongue-in-cheek story, Raymond chooses what people think is a silly superpower, the ability to make delicious food that's also good for you. The people who chose more obvious superpowers, such as Laser Eyes, eventually regret their choices. I though this was okay, but even Raymond's superpower didn't turn out that great, since the little girl he and his partner raise never leaves the house because she won't eat anyone else's food.

The story also breaks the fourth wall once or twice, which was mildly amusing but also mildly annoying. I'm sure many readers' mileage will vary, though, because this is largely a matter of personal no pun intended taste. Story 64 23 in February. This is a perfectly serviceable but to me seemingly pointless story about a year-old boy living alone in an abandoned apartment. He collects paperback books with lurid covers that he doesn't actually care to read.

And that's about it -- nothing really happens. Story 65 24 in February. Anthology published ; story originally published in Nature , September This is the second 5-star story from this same anthology. Major spoilers: A boy and his grandfather prepare to say goodbye, because one is a "Stock Person" or naturally evolved human while the other is a "New Person," or one who is integrated with machines. There's definitely a post-Singularity feel to the story -- they call it the "post-evolutionary divide" -- and the "great goodbye" is because the New People are mostly leaving for the stars.

Due to the distances and relativistic time effects, New People are uniquely suited to interstellar travel. As a story that was originally published in Nature , this is super short, possibly even flash although I don't have a word count to confirm that. And I should have, absolutely should have seen the ending coming, but I didn't and it just delighted me.

The boy is the Stock Person and the grandfather is the New Person. I absolutely loved it. I'm not surprised, because Robert Charles Wilson is the author of one of my favorite science fiction books, The Chronoliths. Now I think of it, Flowers for Algernon is another example. The more you read, the harder it is for an author to surprise you, and it completely caught me off guard.

And it's one of those that if you go back and re-read, you can see the author was honest throughout The reader just makes false assumptions. I loved Flowers for Algernon. I've only read it once, in 7th grade, I think, and it blew my mind. Story 66 25 in February. Published in Daily Science Fiction on February 20, This is a mostly mainstream story, although the argument could be made that there's the possibility of magic in it.

A woman reflects on the bad choices she made by trusting her future to a man who took everything and gave very little in return. It's told in second person, and there's a reasonable justification for it being told that way, but it didn't quite click for me.

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I think perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind for this today. While I wanted to be sympathetic to the main character, and can certainly understand that she followed her heart, I wasn't convinced that it had to be such an all or nothing situation. For instance, she ignores her three MFA program acceptances to follow him across the country so he can go to his dream grad school, but it's not clear to me why she didn't apply to any programs near there, either beforehand in case that's where he got into, or after they moved there -- even if that new location didn't have the perfect program for her, they might have had something that would have allowed her to pursue her artistic dreams in some way.

I think perhaps I've just read too many stories about women making bad choices, and many of the stories feel to me like they're trying a little too hard. Story 67 26 in February. This is a humorous story about a guy named Joe who shows up at an otherworldly poker game with a robot, vampire, fairy, witch, and some aliens, with no idea of who he is or what he's doing there. It turns out they're all story tropes, and they come into existence or fade away depending on how popular they are in people's minds, or cultures, at any given time.

I liked the snappy dialogue in this story. Subscription only? I'd have followed up a link had you provided one, I'm guessing it's behind a paywall. Then you can browse stories by author, genre, tag, etc. If you want to continue, you drop a quarter in -- and the author gets 22 cents of that quarter. Stories will all be under 2, words this keeps the pay rate per word at an acceptable level, and provides some consistency so readers know what to expect.

They also do a free story each week, but I haven't been able to locate this week's story for some reason. He said he's working on it. He's been making constant improvements to the site! I was somehow thinking along the lines of a quarterly, though I seem to recall now you'd mentioned that before probably upthread. Story 68 27 in February. Published in Daily Science Fiction on September 26, I'd been planning to read this anyway, because I'd heard good things about it, and then it made the Nebula ballot. This is the story of a ballerina in a plague-ravished world, who has found an abandoned theater in which to dance to the music in her head, but she still misses her partner, who always caught her.

Her partner shows up, himself a victim of the death-plague; at this point, the reader knows that it's a zombie apocolypse. The real surprise, however, is when we find out that she is one as well. This story is beautifully written, although occasionally I think there are a few too many adjectives, especially in the dialogue, since people don't usually talk in such flowery language. Even with the build-up of the story's reputation and the Nebula nomination, though, it still managed to surprise me, in a good way.

I have to read the other stories in the short story category before I vote, but this is a pretty strong contender. Story 69 28 in February. Published in Daily Science Fiction on February 23, Once again, a self-explanatory title. This is a fun, cute story consisting of four movie reviews that take place well after a zombie outbreak that has led to rights-for-the-undead movements, and lots of representation in cinematic offerings.

Story 70 29 in February. It's an extremely simple story about a fairy who needs flowers to survive. I loved its sweetness and simplicity. Story 71 30 in February. Read online This time, it wasn't serendipity but rather deliberate -- I was looking for another story to read today and saw that this one was about fairies, like the one I just read on QuarterReads. In this story, a young woman named Jennifer works for a toy company and has been asked to come up with ideas for an online fairy environment where kids who buy the fairy dolls can go to play with their doll's virtual equivalent and spend money.

Jennifer muses on the Disneyfying of Peter Pan and fairies in general and on her father's Alzheimer's and impending death. I liked this story and thought it was well-written, but I would have liked it a whole lot more if it had anything resembling an ending. Story 72 31 in February. This mainstream literary short story had interesting potential that unfortunately wasn't fulfilled. The main character is a former professional dancer and a young widow, who works as a paid traveling companion to much older ladies. When the story starts, the cruise ship is adrift in the North Sea due to sewage flooding in the lower levels.

I'm not entirely sure why that would put the ship out of commission; I'd have thought the engine room would have some levels of protection. The narrator hasn't seen her elderly charge in a few days and is worried she got left behind at the last port. There are some gorgeous sentences in this story, such as this description of a child: "She is a confection of blond, disheveled pigtails, pink satin, lace ruffles, and tulle.

Two jagged seams on the back of her gown mark a place where, recently, wings have been removed. But as with the other Tin House story I read this month, it didn't go anywhere for me. It's unknown whether the ship gets rescued although seriously, with modern communication, how could it not?

It's unknown whether Stella is on the ship or got left behind in Oslo. Also, the main character just isn't that nice. I think we're meant to interpret her irrational actions not telling Stella about accidentally dropping the wig in the toilet; leaving Stella alone inappropriately as her way of grieving her own husband's death, but Let's just say I like stories to be a little more definite. Also, this one employed a few too many flashbacks. Story 73 32 in February. This hard SF tale just missed a 4 star rating for me.

I love the way it incorporates fractals, specifically the Mandelbrot Set, into time travel and quantum physics. I like the main character, who is a bit of a Sheldon-esque from Big Bang Theory literal-minded physicist who also has multiple sclerosis and requires full-time medical care. The reason the story just missed for me is that I'm unsure whether we're supposed to conclude that the woman writing about Daniel in an article?

If not, then the formatting of the book's section breaks are very confusing. I just feel like the author could have taken a little more care to make very clear who is speaking when. But I loved the idea overall, and most of the execution. Story 74 33 in February. Published in Daily Science Fiction on September 23, This story is about a woman with dementia whose adult daughter visits and reminisces with her about her full life, as one of the team that made interstellar travel possible, and as the pilot of the first interstellar craft. The story is intriguing, in that we find out that not everything the daughter tells her is true.

The author set himself a challenge by writing from the POV of a character with faulty memory. However, I was disturbed by two things: first, that the woman lied many years ago to her daughter about her father. That's a stupid thing to do, because the child will eventually find out the truth and feel betrayed. Second, I'm not sure it made sense to me that the woman aged naturally during her forty years in a cryopod. I think I'd have been more prepared to accept it if it were made clear that the cryopod malfunctioned enough to damage her and barely keep her alive, but the only malfunction specified is that it doesn't wake her up on schedule so she stays in it for forty years.

Somehow, just the prolonged stay -- presumably operating normally, since it does not say otherwise -- was enough to cause the dementia. Perhaps I'm irrationally swayed by all the science fiction I've read, but I thought that a person in cryogenic sleep could be sustained, including brain function, indefinitely. Or don't we know that yet? Story 75 34 in February. In this story, humans on an alien planet leave after discovering that all human pregnancies there have resulted in stillborn children, and the ghosts of the those children appear to walk the planet by moonlight.

This touches on abortion, stillborn children, transgendered individuals, grief, guilt, and so on. I found it a little ponderous in trying to cover too much, but I think that's just personal taste. I also was put off by affected punctuation in dialogue, such as: "I'm. You don't know how relieved I am to hear that.

Don't know. I might need some time, but. And those periods -- William Shatner! Although people start and stop when talking, the use of a period in written dialogue makes me feel like the speaker intends those to be separate sentences. To me, trailing off, or stumbling over words, would be more natural, and indicated by commas or ellipses.

Interesting comments about how to render dialogue. I like to think I'm open to different approaches, though my instincts are very similar to yours, but agree the examples you provide strike me as wrong-footed. I'd also prefer ellipses and hyphens and such.

You've made me realise that when it works, I think it has as much to do with the ear for dialogue, and the author's convincing presentation of a style of conversation, as it does with the punctuation used. So it works for me, even if sometimes I have to voice it aloud, and try not to be distracted by the words on the page so much as the rhythm when rendered into speech.

But as ever, the words on the page and the way they're punctuated need to be in service of the story or the dialogue imagined between characters. If the words aren't persuasive, then attention is called to any unorthodox punctuation, which isn't helpful. In writing fiction, I find dialogue to be the easiest part. But having been a member of several critique groups over the years, I know that's not the case for many writers.

I guess we all have our strengths and weaknesses! My biggest weakness is plot, I think You can also use an em-dash for interrupted thinking. Here's what the Chicago Manual of Style says: "Authors and editors are not always consistent in the way they use ellipses and dashes in interrupted speech, but an attempt should be made to establish a distinction. Ellipsis points suggest faltering or fragmented speech accompanied by confusion, insecurity, distress, or uncertainty, and they should be reserved for that purpose.

The dash, on the other hand, suggests some decisiveness and should be reserved for interruptions, abrupt changes in thought, or impatient fractures in grammar. Edited: had the wrong post. In this case, I wonder if this might be a cultural preference as the author is not in the U. I agree with how you would do it. In my head, I hear a distinct difference between "I'm.

Story 76 35 in February. Published in Daily Science Fiction on February 26, This is a very short flash piece about a damaged robot that is found and repaired by a scientist in some kind of catastrophe situation. The story was edging towards something for me, but there wasn't enough there to deliver whatever it was I thought I was looking for. Still, it was well written and I particularly liked the use of the plural pronoun for the robot.

Story 77 1 in March. Published as standalone Kindle short story in In this story, a man living on or probably in as asteroid is devastated to find that the antique chairs from Earth he's just purchased are forgeries, but he finds a way to make lemonade from lemons. I loved the athenas small companion robots and the way the forget left his "signature," by using the first 50 digits of pi and other mathematical constants. I think that has something to do with the AI assistants everyone seems to have implanted in their heads, but it wasn't clarified and I'm not sure if it added anything.

Story 78 2 in March. This is a quite short flash piece about pigeons taking over people with mind control. It was okay, but not memorable for me. Story 79 3 in March. He's been setting his plans in motion for ages, but doesn't count on suddenly being befriended by a 9-year-old girl. The characters were nicely developed and the situation suspenseful. I like that the title is deliberately misleading, by the time I figured out what Arturo was, I'd forgotten the "stealing" and so didn't see the twist coming.

But I'm never any good at figuring out endings. Probably shouldn't have read it at work, though! I thought the little girl's character was very well done. I remembered the title, but thought it referred to just taking the station over, not actually re-locating it! If you have a few favorite SF or fantasy stories, I'd love your recommendations and I'll add them to my "to read" list. Story 80 4 in March. Wow, two great stories read today! This one hit all my "like" buttons: years of study in a monastic setting, personal sacrifice for the sake of knowledge and the greater good, an alien but not too alien setting I would have given it five stars except for a misuse and one or two non-uses of semi-colons where I felt they belonged, and a little bit less grace and clarity in one or two places.

But these are extremely minor quibbles -- I really liked this story! It's about the Kunchen, who sleeps in a cryo-chamber and is woken every ten years to check on and advise her people. I have a few collections at home and now could be a good time to pull them out and remind myself of what I have! Story 81 5 in March. March is certainly starting off strong. This story is on the current Nebula ballot, and I resisted because I don't generally like stories about shapeshifters, or trickster tales this isn't that, exactly.

I just knew going in that I wouldn't like this story. It's done exactly right: tone, length, style, unexpected elements Not a word out of place. Reading the previous stories will enhance it, I think, and it's a graphic novel so the entire book of 5 stories can be read in an hour.

My bet is if you read the last one, you'll find it difficult to return the book to the library without reading the others! Angela Carter's omnibus Burning Your Boats , I liked all the stories originally published as Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces , but to point to just one, perhaps I'll name "In the Heart of the Forest" if for no other reason than the link to the Carroll collection. They didn't have the Angela Carter in either form, though.


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  • This selection fits into Fantasy, not all of them do. Story 82 6 in March. To be honest, I didn't find this overly original -- we have lots of stories about fairytale endings not being the "happily ever after" we expect. And I felt like this was trying a little too hard with the descriptions. Story 83 7 in March. Published in Daily Science Fiction on March 5, What a terrific idea, that a person wakes up every day to find photos from their dreams on the cell phones. But unfortunately, it wasn't turned into a story, it's just to me an idea for a story.

    Story 84 8 in March. This story is about the ghosts that cling to an abandoned military complex in Argentia, Newfoundland. I was intrigued by the idea of the place, but did not find this to be enough "story" to satisfy me, and the descriptions seemed a little heavy for my taste. Story 85 9 in March. This story, about a man accused of murdering a little girl in a pre-statehood Western town and the townspeople who want to see him hanged, was well-written but seemed kind of pointless, and a little bit like it was going for a gross factor.

    It also occurs to me that the silver dollar proves nothing. There is more than one silver dollar in the world, and the undertaker could have planted the evidence which would imply he was the killer. My last post? I adore him. Not sure how his stuff will come across when reading a story in isolation from any others, but I s'pose that's as good a vantage to judge his work as any.

    Presuming you've not read his work already. There might be stuff on Gutenberg, otherwise perhaps a library option again. I'd suggest starting with The Silver Stallion any of the stories , but only 'cos I know those are standalone. But I love Gibson, and like cyberpunk without feeling the need to read widely in the subgenre. But it seems you don't really need much in the way of suggestions, the variety of styles and sources and authors you've already listed here testify to that.

    I'll have to see what I can find! Just realize that Hugo nomations close on March Story 86 10 in March. The author has indicated elsewhere that this was originally intended to be a series of pieces of flash fiction, but that it coalesced on her into a single story. You can still see the original structure, as it corresponds to the five stages of grief.

    I think it's just beautifully put together, and it had more closure than I expected. Absolutely lovely. Story 87 11 in March. This is a stunning little piece of flash fiction about the sister whose curse, or gift, is to have frogs or toads come from her mouth when she speaks, unlike her sister, who spills gold and jewels. It's amazing what the author does with this concept. Loved it: tone, concept, humour, the entirety of the little narrative arc. All beautiful. Story 88 12 in March. This is a neat story about a girl, and later woman, who has always jumped through time into the past, where she lives out her life.

    When she dies in that time, she returns to the moment she left "the present," always disoriented at having to pick up her "real" life where she left off. She faces a lot of dangers in the past, but also does some great things; eventually she is disturbed to learn that those of her actions that are remembered are almost always attributed to men, and she looks for ways to take control of not only her destiny but also her legacy. Story 89 13 in March. I read this story because someone mentioned it as being on his Hugo nomination list -- nominations are due in two days, so I'll be doing a lot of reading between now and then.

    He mentioned the story as being one of the few to provide a plausible explanation for the development of computers becoming sentient. I enjoyed the story a lot, and agree that the details were beautifully worked out. For me, however, the story simply stopped too soon, and didn't feel complete.

    That might be unfair of me, because in real life, things rarely end one way or the other, but are rather in a constant state of evolution. But I don't always want fiction to be that way. Story 90 14 in March. Ken Liu's stories are almost always a pleasure to read, and this was no exception. It begins as a female bounty hunter named Alex releases her bounty-hunted captive, Ryder, on a planet where he can remain free of his father, a politically powerful man.

    It then flashes back to Alex and Ryder's time in hyperspace, much of which time Alex spends playing a text-based interactive game written by Ryder. The game involves a princess and her clockwork soldier, and has to do with the illegality of creating sentient androids. I loved the interactive game within the story, but as with the Newitz story I read earlier today, this didn't quite go far enough for me.

    I assume the reader is meant to conclude that Ryder is an android created to replace the man's original son, but I'm not completely sure. I think I'm okay with that level of ambiguity, but the beginning, in which Alex says to Ryder, "I'm letting you go because I believe you," suggests that Alex reached some definite conclusion even though she and Riley discuss that she is taking some things on faith based on the same information that the reader got.

    And since I don't know what conclusion she reached, I'm dissatisfied. I don't mind knowing that what she believes may or may not be true, but I need to at least know what she believes. Story 91 15 in March. This is a fantasy novelette about a polecat, a goddess, a girl, and a dragon.

    Upon seeking favors from the goddess, the polecat quickly gains intelligence, and his new strategies for getting what he wants set some nasty events in motion.

    Cahaya ep 112e

    I thought the author did a good job portraying the POV of the polecat as it became smarter, but I felt like there was a bit too much crammed in the story, and this is just a matter of personal taste I don't personally enjoy treasure-hording dragons as a plot element. Story 92 16 in March. This novelette is yet another tale of artificial intelligence -- obviously a popular topic for those who nominate for awards. This one is unique in that it also involves magic, and the nature of proof and belief -- it's not often an AI has to cross swords not literally with a magician.

    I thought this was very well written, and it gave the reader a sense of suspense that made the story seem shorter than it was. Story 93 17 in March. This novelette is about a woman life's, from late girlhood through motherhood to her own son's adulthood. She wears a ribbon around her neck, which is the only thing she has asked her husband not to touch. The little episodes of the woman's own life are interspersed with her telling stories, many of them versions of urban legends we all know the murderer with the hook for a hand, when two teenagers go parking, etc. While there was nothing wrong with the prose at the line level, and in fact there were many turns of phrase that I quite liked, I felt this story tried way too hard and was too self-consciously about storytelling.

    It was actually shorter than the novelette by Tom Crosshill that I just read, yet seemed twice as long, and certainly could have been cut by a third. Finally, I have to admit I'm fairly tired of stories all about men's selfishness and how they take, take, take from women. That's not to say such stories aren't valid, but they rarely seem original to me, and too often seem heavy-handed. It's a memorable tale from reading when I was perhaps a preteen, and I have a soft spot for myths.

    But not simply retelling them, somehow bringing something new. I'm not confident based on your review that Machado manages to do that. I'd completely forgotten until you mentioned it. She does pull from a lot of sources and weaves things together nicely, but it was just too much too long, too much dwelling on men taking advantage of women for me. Even having read almost stories in so far, I've read no novellas and maybe a half dozen novelettes. Short stories are the only category for which I have more I would be willing to nominate than allowed, so I'll have to make a decision there.

    I've got only 2 novels and 2 movies to nominate. Now I have a somewhat different decision to make - do I try to catch up with the last year books and stories or do I read works and especially stories so I am not in the same boat next year And make sure I've caught up on the Nebula ballot. After that, it will be stories alternating with anything I feel like reading on any given day. But I won't be concentrating on stories any more at that point. I'm curious about Nina Allan's The Race -- had not heard of it until your mention.

    Will look into it! My review here is non-spoilery but does not say a lot Oh yes - I will catch up with the ballots - but there is a lot of other good fiction out there that cannot make it into them Locus and their recommended list is the death of me that sometimes I wonder. I suspect I will do something similar to what you are doing - concentrate on , read the year's best anthologies for last year and see how it looks like next year.

    I love it that we live in a time when so many stories are published. And at the same time I hate it :. I used to work at Locus years and years ago, by the way. Now I did not see that coming but people need to work there I guess : Now I need to stop highjacking your thread and go read some stories ;. Story 94 18 in March. In this story, two companions, a Meeker and an All-Seeing Eye, travel the universe looking for stars, of which there aren't many left at this late stage of creation, to bring back to the Eye's body, the Corpus. They're also on the lookout for anything new that they haven't encountered before, since such occurrences have become so rare.

    They find a crystalline entity that contains the blueprints for an organic creature, who is of course human. The woman, whom they call "the Beth," is ill and dies, so the Eye resurrects her over and over, trying to glean out of her what information she might have about life and the universe. I think this story was ambitious in a good way , but it didn't resonate with me. The scale is so large that I lost emotional connection to it, and I also had a problem with the fact that Beth's wife Sloan preserved her body in a cryogenic-like manner without Beth's consent.

    To be honest, that seems to me to be a kind of violation, and it therefore surprises me that this story is on the final Nebula ballot. It occurs to me that the story I read the other day, "The Magician and Laplace's Demon", also went quite large-scale in terms of the universe, but it kept it on a level I could relate to. Story 95 19 in March. This was this week's free story on QuarterReads. It's a word or so short story narrated by an immortal male who wishes to die, and who finds temporary comfort in a drug called "dust" given by someone called Mama to all the immortals seeking humanity, pain, and death.

    I'm pretty certain the narrator is meant to be Jesus. I'm not offended in the slightest, but I found the story a bit boring and definitely too abstract for me. Story 96 20 in March. This was just published today as a Nature Futures flash fiction story. It's a about a couple expecting their first child by an artificial womb called "the egg" that sits in their living room.

    Unfortunately, the woman is in the last stages of cancer and will not live to see the child's birth. It was a moving little story, and I enjoyed following the link to the author's notes regarding how the story came about. Story 97 21 in March. This story is part of a thematic series, a "Tasting Menu" of flash fiction pieces all having to do with food. This author is quickly becoming one of my favorite flash fiction writers. In this one, a future descendant of Earth participates in the Intergalactic Pastry Competition, which happens only once every years. Pretty story. I crave sugar now, though My only quibble, and this is mostly my fault, is that I got confused because I didn't realize the tasting dessert was different than the showpiece dessert.

    I should have known, because 1 I watched two seasons of Top Chef: Just Desserts , and 2 the author actually says it, but it is easy to miss. Minor thing, though. Story 98 22 in March. Read onlinen This is a sweet little story about probability and romance. I love that it appeared on Friday the 13th. Story 99 23 in March.

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    Audio anthology published The audio version was published first, followed by a later limited print edition and then an open print edition. I love the idea of stories in a shared world, but as you can see by my rating I disliked this story quite a bit. After listening to it, I went online and read several reviews of the anthology as a whole, and it seems pretty clear that I won't like the rest of the stories much better, so I don't plan on going further.