Tag Archives: free online

A Human’s Life by George Nikolopoulos

This week promised to be the regular kind of busy instead of the crazy kind of busy, so I’m back to my usual blog posting schedule. As such, today’s post 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: September, 2016 in Galaxy’s Edge: Issue 22. It’s was also featured on an episode of StarShipSofa, if you prefer to listen to your short fiction as I do.

Genre: science fiction

Setting: the planet Pandaesia, far future

Summary: Short version: An alien’s guide to owning a human Continue reading

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Persuasion by Jane Austen

This is one of the BBC’s The Big Read books. It’s the highest on the list I’ve never read and I decided to pick it up. Plus, I was in between library books and this was available from Gutenberg for free for my Kindle.

Published: 1818

Genre: literary fiction

Length: 249 pages

Setting: 1800s England, in and around Bath

Summary: Quick version: Class gets in the way of potential husband Continue reading

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Further Arguments… by Rebecca Fraimow

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.

Complete title: Further Arguments In Support of Yudah Cohen’s Proposal to Bluma Zilberman

Published: May 2016 in Diabolical Plots (follow the link to read it online, or if you’d prefer to listen to the story, PodCastle ran it in December 2016)

Genre: fantastical fiction

Setting: Vilna (which, if it’s the city in Europe, is in Lithuania), it felt late 1800s-ish

Summary: The title is the shortest summary of the story. In Yudah’s letter to Bluma, we find out Yudah is not a fan of Hershel Schmulewitz, Bluma’s other marriage prospect. Yudah’s argument is: 1. he has better long-term prospects than Hershel, 2. he won’t be bringing annoying family members into the relationship, 3. Bluma doesn’t need to worry about having kids because Yudah is actually a woman, 4. he’s more handsome than Hershel, and 5. he’ll be the best one to keep the secret of Bluma’s werewolf mom since he’s so good at keeping his own secrets.

Final thoughts: This story starts out as nothing special. Yudah is trying to convince Bluma to marry him and has a list of why it would be a good idea. Then that list takes a bit of turn. OK, no annoying in-laws. That’s nice. And no chance of kids – how can you be so sure? Oh, because Yudah is missing some vital organs to make that happen. If Bluma really doesn’t want kids, this is the only sure-fire way for that to happen and still have sex. And then Yudah throws in the real kicker. He’d be the best husband to keep Bluma’s family’s secret about her mother. I hope Bluma could get over the fact that Yudah didn’t have male anatomy and marry him. Very enjoyable.

Title comes from: It’s descriptive of the plot

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Das Steingeschopf by G. V. Anderson

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. This story also won the World Fantasy Award in 2017.

Published: December 2016 in Strange Horizons (read it free online at the link)

Genre: fantastical historical fiction

Setting: Germany, just before the start of WWII

Summary: Out narrator is a journeyman Schopfer – he trained to carve and repair Steingeschopfe (animated statues carved from Queckstein). He is sent to his first commission and discovers it is repair work on a Steingeschopfe originally carved by one of the 17th century masters. Our narrator agrees to do the work, which involves pouring some of his energy and memories into the statue as he works.

Final thoughts: This story managed to pack quite a bit into a small plot – someone comes to fix a statue. However, we get the rise of racism against Jews in Germany, a bit of a love story between our narrator and one of his fellow apprentices, the conflict between art and practicality, and the specter of death hanging over it all. Not bad for a short story!

Title comes from: It’s the German name of the animate statues that our narrator works on

 

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The local library started a book club for teens and tweens that reads a book and then watches the movie. For December, this was the chosen book. I decided to read it to the kids. We also watched the The Muppet Christmas Carol as part of the book club experience.

Subtitle: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas

Published: 1843 (so you can get it for free at Gutenberg.org if you want – that’s how we read it)

Genre: a ghost story

Length: 104 pages

Setting: London, 1840s Continue reading

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The Sky, Falling by Anton Rose

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: at Motherboard (follow the link to read it online for free – go ahead, it’s short)

Genre: climate change science fiction short story

Setting: near future, somewhere generic on Earth

Summary: Suref is heading up to his job as a sky engineer. As he walks up the mountain, he reminisces about his life. As he’s working on the platform, an accident happens. Suref falls off the platform and his parachute does not deploy. Again, he thinks about his life as he’s falling.

Final thoughts: A competent story that is only marginally science fictionish. Suref’s job seems to be monitoring the geoengineering of the atmosphere that humans have set up, most likely to minimize climate change without having to eliminate the use of fossil fuels. Because of his job, he had a long way (40,000 feet) to fall when he fell off the platform, which gives you lots of time to come to terms with your life, I guess.

Title comes from: Suref works up in the sky, and spends half the story falling out of it to his death.

 

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World on the Edge by Lester Brown

I’m looking for a book that was published relatively recently that discusses many of the world’s environmental issues for my Environmental Science class. This was an option I found at the library.

Subtitle: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse

Published: 2011

Genre: nonfiction environmental science

Length: 202 pages of text, 240 pages total Continue reading

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