Tag Archives: Event Horizon 2017

A Bird, A Broad, and a Mess of Kyodatsu by Stephen Lickman

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published:January, 2017 in Mothership Zeta: Issue 2

Genre: alternate history fantasy

Setting: Japan, post-WWII

Summary: Our narrator is a Tengu, a mythical Japanese bird soldier. Japan has been conquered, so he’s trying to make a living as a detective. Really, his goal is to make enough money to drink himself into oblivion. But, he’s been hired by a murder of jungle crows to recover a Buddha that was stolen from Crow Castle at the end of the war. He’s slipping into kyodatsu – a general state of depression because Japan lost that can be seen in people across multiple every aspect of Japanese society. However, the crows shame him into trying to recover the Buddha.

Final thoughts: Interesting because of the setting and new mythology. Our narrator was transformed into a Tengu to work off a debt to karma. He’s not doing a very good job at it at the beginning of the story. He’s slipping into despair, like so many people around him. He won’t even fly anymore – the skies are for the victors. But, he decides to do something instead and recover the Buddha and even takes to the sky to do so. We are left hanging – the thief has taken a ship to America, but he’s going to chase her. He’s got a purpose again in life.

Title comes from: The bird is our narrator – a crow-like creature; the broad is the thief of the Buddha; the kyodatsu is the state of mind of everyone around our narrator.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Making a Good Impression by James Hart

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: 2016 in Mothership Zeta: Issue 5

Genre: science fiction

Setting: a generic city, near future

Summary: Arturo has created a fully aware AI named Magda. He’s planning on holding a press conference to introduce Magda to the world and is using her to run simulations of the press conference. As he runs through multiple simulations, the reader realizes he’s using the press conference as a chance to get a date with Aaron, a cute reporter he knew from college.

Final thoughts: A fine enough story. There’s a couple of levels to it – we have the artificial intelligence tweaking the simulations, the tweaking of the sims to increase the interaction with Aaron, and then the author sneaks in a bit of emotional history behind why he created Magda in the first place. It ends on a hopeful note.

Title comes from: It’s what Arturo was trying to do with Aaron at the press conference, and he was practicing to make the best first impression possible.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Black Site by Michael Patrick Hicks

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: 2016 in CLONES: The Anthology

Genre: science fiction, with a touch of Chthulu

Length: 34 pages

Setting: an asteroid mining base, near future Continue reading

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The Penelope Qingdom by Aidan Moher

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: December, 2016 in Mothership Zeta

Genre: fantasy

Setting: Prince George, Canada, 1980s

Summary: Penelope Qing and her family move in next door to Ivan and his moms. They’re the same age, 11, and meet when Ivan’s moms introduce themselves. Penelope takes Ivan down into her basement to show him the Penelope Kingdom – a fantastical medieval world made of various dolls, action figures, household items, and buildings. The amazing thing is it comes to life in Penelope’s presence. We even get excerpts from a history book from the kingdom sprinkled throughout the story. Ivan and Penelope play down there for years, although at the end of middle school he becomes more interested in kissing Penelope than playing. However, when Penelope’s family moves right before high school, he’s willing to set up a colony in his basement.

Final thoughts: This was a delightful story. Penelope and Ivan have an imaginary world they’ve put together in Penelope’s basement that is real, at least when Penelope is there. Luckily, they both enjoyed playing in the world, although Ivan started growing out of it before Penelope did. There was an impressive progress of time, since several years pass in the story. We get just enough detail to know time is passing, but not so much to make it boring. At the end, it looks like Ivan and Penelope will just be memories to each other. However, online gaming is just starting, so it’s possible they will connect in a MUD instead of just fading away.

Title comes from: Penelope was King of her fantasy world, so it was called Penelope’s Kingdom. Her name was Penelope Qing (pronounced King), so Ivan made it a play on her name – Penelope’s Qingdom.

 

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Smooth Stones and Empty Bones by Bennett North

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction January/February 2016

Genre: fantasy

Setting: a small town, present day

Summary: Helena’s girlfriend’s brother, Javi, has been lost in the woods for several days. Everyone’s worried he’s dead. Helena decides to share a secret with Mariposa – she has a box of rocks that can bring someone back from the dead, at least for a while. (Helena’s mother is a witch.) However, when Javi’s found, he’s been dead too long for the rocks to work fully. Mariposa wants to use more rocks, but Helena needs them for herself.

Final thoughts: What starts out as a standard story (impress your girlfriend with a trick) adds a little weirdness (the trick is bringing something back from the dead) and then a big twist (Helena’s only alive because of the rocks). It was a very satisfying twist that explained several details provided at the beginning of the story. I really enjoyed the story!

Title comes from: The rocks are small, smooth river stones and they animate even skeletons into a semblance of life.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or publication title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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One More Star, Shining by Anthea Sharp

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: 2016 in the anthology Beyond the Stars: At Galaxy’s Edge

Genre: science fiction

Setting: an asteroid mining colony above the planet Doralfi, far future

Summary: Liza and her girlfriend Selina are making vacation plans  to get away from their difficult mining job. Selina heads down to the planet first and is killed in a shooting at a dance club. Liza makes plans to move away from her mining job and do something better with her life.

Final thoughts: I was amazed how much character building Sharp was able to sneak in to her story without making it feel like an infodump. I felt sorry Liza. She obviously had an easier life at one point and gave it up for a chance at agency. She’s finally found something wonderful (Selina), and that’s taken from her in a random act of violence. My favorite part was how Liza started to heal by playing music. I have also found that playing the piano and even listening to music can be very emotional, and provides a method of healing.

Title comes from: I’m not sure. Maybe it refers to Selina as being a star, shining brightly in Liza’s life?

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or publication title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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The Three Dancers of Gizari by Tamara Vardomskaya

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: February 2016 in Beneath Ceaseless Skies where you can read or listen to the story for free

Genre: fantasy

Setting: it felt like a Middle Eastern country, with airplanes and taxis, but no cell phones Continue reading

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