By Matt Cavanagh
Hello readers so if you’re looking for a short trip into the land of SF&F here are five stories we would like to recommend to you:
Speak by Cassandra Khaw
In this story we explore the very topical issue of what makes the news and what should be the news. A journalist is increasingly tormented by the stories he is coming across which speaks of injustice and the cruelty of the world. However their editor keeps rejecting them on not being newsworthy enough. Khaw creates a very very near future world where direct access to the stories and images ultimately forces our journalist to attempt to help the victims. This one is pretty much turning into science fact now and is staying with me many days after reading it.
Ordonta at Rest by Nancy Au
From Liminal Stories Issue #2
In this story Au has created an amazingly alive character in the form of Bernice, the daughter of Chinese immigrants in the US. Through their school system she is effectively on a scholarship to a Catholic school. This is a tale of culture clashes. Bernice is clever, witty and is reviewing how her family decided to stop being flying Ordonta to move to the West (or at least this is what she believes) with a teacher who tries to tell how Western life is ‘better’. The story doesn’t take blatant sides but it does say something about how we expect people to conform to a way of life.
The Solace of Counted Things by Natalia Theodoridou
Liminal Stories Issue #2
For a darker take this story looks at a brother sister relationship gone very very wrong. A taxidermist creates strange creatures which mirror his inner thoughts and struggles. It’s unsettling and you quickly pick up what may have led to this strange sense of affairs…also keep counting what you see…
Rusties by Nnedi Okorafor & Wanuri Kahiu
From Clarkesworld Issue #121
This story does in a few paragraphs what many recent Hollywood blockbusters have completely failed at. Compelling world building as we see Africa slowly changed by the growth of AI which takes many forms but includes the friendly Rusties – traffic robots who control many of the cities’ dangerous streets. But many people start to blame the robots for taking away jobs and rebellion leads to war. This story mixes these global scale events with a more intimate look at a young woman’s failing relationship with her boyfriend and her childhood’s friendly ‘rustie. Absolutely fascinating.
A Diet of Worms by Valerie Valdes
From Nightmare Magazine Issue #49: People of Colo(u)r Destroy Horror
Many of us may have had a job that we all knew when we accepted it was just to keep us ticking along before we moved on and then we would escape. Here our main character is doing a quick night shift in the theatre they despise but quickly they find themselves jumping through time (and in the same job!!!). There is an eerie sense of dislocation as we jump to various points of time in someone’s life. It may have touched a nerve or thousand, read this one!!