Title: Graveyard Shift
Published: September 2013 in Tesseracts Seventeen: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast.
Genre: speculative fiction
Length: 9 pages
Setting: a graveyard, near future
Interest: It was published in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology
Summary: Ryan Leong has pretty much given up. He’s just graduated from college, deep in debt, with little prospect of getting a job since all the teachers have been replaced by online classes and algorithms, and his mother just died. So, he’s going to show xiao one last time and visit his Grandfather’s grave. He figures he owes his grandfather at least one last conversation, before using the gun in his backpack. That conversation manages to turn his mind around and give him an idea of what to do after graduation.
Final thoughts: The story qualifies for speculative fiction, but not in any “crazy technology” way. Instead, the author took a trend (the creation of online courses, and the increasing expense of college) and pushed it to the extreme. What would that mean? It could mean that going to college would no longer be a help in getting a job. Instead, it would just saddle you with enormous amounts of debt, and you’d still be less competitive than the cheap overseas workers. The author also pulled in lots of details of showing respect to your elders as a Chinese immigrant.
Title comes from: The narrator goes to visit his Grandfather’s grave before dawn
Title: Hurry Up and Wait
Published: May, 2013 in Perihelion Science Fiction
Length: 15 pages
Setting: an island off the coast of Vancouver, near future
Summary: Mike and Darren are living on a small island north of Vancouver. For all they know, they could be the last people to survive the supervirus, bombs, earthquake, and other environmental disasters that all seemed to hit at once. That thought changes when they get a text on Darren’s cell phone. A billionaire survivor is asking anyone still alive to meet at the University of Vancouver campus. Mike is pessimistic and happy to stay on the island, while Darren, who crashing landed on the island in a storm at the beginning of the apocalypse, wants to join them. They spend a winter on the island, and Mike is convinced they can’t really make it on their own. He starts making plans to get to Vancouver.
Final thoughts: An interesting twist on the post-apocalyptic story. Mike had been planning to move off grid onto the island, but the apocalypse came before he could get all his supplies together. Darren, on the other hand, was an unexpected visitor that Mike couldn’t just send away. There was no away to get to. Mike’s a little annoyed he has to share his hideaway with anyone, let alone a stranger. Eventually, though, he realizes that he just doesn’t have enough resources to survive on his own, and they think about joining other survivors.
Title comes from: A phrase Mike uses when talking about doing chores around the cabin. You have to hurry up and do something and then wait until it’s important.
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