Tag Archives: short stories

Another Word for World by Ann Leckie

Sorry I didn’t get a weekend post up. Miss Adventure and I went to a contra dance Saturday night and then we had a soccer tournament for Mr. Curiosity most of Sunday. Today, I have the last story in theĀ Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft anthology (still free for the Kindle!) by Ann Leckie. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this story since I loved her Imperial Radch trilogy.

Published: 2015

Genre: science fiction

Setting: an exoplanet, far future Continue reading

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Sparg by Brian Trent

Art by Melissa Mead

This is the next story included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology.

Published: August, 2013 in Daily Science Fiction

Genre: science fiction

Setting: Mars, near future

Summary: Sparg, which we slowly learn is a pet octopus (or something like that) on Mars, is going through the motions of creating breakfast to bring its owners back. It doesn’t like being alone, and it desperately hopes its actions will return things to the way they were. Unfortunately, we learn the family left suddenly because of an attack on Mars and isn’t likely to return any time soon.

Final thoughts: An interesting viewpoint for a basic story. You start our trying to figure out why the narrator is having such a hard time making pancakes. Through flashbacks, we slowly piece together the setting and why the creature is making breakfast. Ultimately, it’s quite a sad story – Sparg was left behind, with no knowledge of why the family left or when it will come back, but it really hopes they do come back. But the reader knows the family won’t be coming back, and Sparg is left with its OCD, trying to recreate just the right conditions to bring them back.

Title comes from: The name of the pet who was our narrator for the story.

 

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The Tell by David Brin

This is the next story in the Future Visions anthology. I’ve read several books by David Brin, most recently rereading the Uplift saga.

Published: 2016

Genre: science fiction

Setting: near future, mostly in Vegas Continue reading

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Short Stories by Grace Tang

These stories were included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology.

Ghost in the Machine

Published: February 2012 in Nature

Genre: science fiction

Length: flash length (my Kindle has stopped changing page numbers on this file. I don’t think it can handle more than 2495 pages.)

Setting: near future, some random city

Summary: Our narrator is a computer simulation of a dead man. He still “lives” with and interacts with his wife, Katie, but he’s confused about some gaps in his playback. When Katie comes home with the doctor who set up our narrator in his computer, we learn where the gaps are coming from.

Final thoughts: For as short as this story was, Tang managed to do a slow reveal throughout the story. You don’t realize right off that the narrator is a computer, but the setting and Kate’s responses slowly give that fact away. We can tell Kate is feeling guilty or uncomfortable about something, and the end shows us the source of that uncomfort. The end of the story is chilling, referencing the start of the story.

Title comes from: Our narrator is literally the ghost of himself in a machine

White Lies

Published: July 2012 in Nature

Genre: science fiction

Length: flash length

Setting: a generic university, near future

Summary: Lisa is a researcher that as a graduate student, learned how to impart memories into animal subjects. However, getting permission for human research was problematic. She did it anyways, with the help of a fellow grad student. Unfortunately, the subjects eventually realize the memories aren’t real and lose access to all of them, which is currently happening with subject number three.

Final thoughts: Again, Tang is playing with memory and our perception of them. This time the twist is even more malicious. Lisa is doing unsanctioned research on unknowing subjects (since once they know they are a subject, the research no longer works). As a scientist, it’s a bit chilling to see that kind of drive to do what they wanted, regardless of what others say is right.

Title comes from: I’m sure Lisa felt that her research was a series of white lies – they weren’t there to hurt anyone, just help them. I’m not so sure the research subjects would agree.

 

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Looking for Gordo by Robert J. Sawyer

This is the next story in the Future Visions anthology, by someone I’ve never even heard of. Turns out the two authors are known for their comics and illustrations, which explains my lack of knowledge.

Published: 2015

Genre: science fiction

Setting: California, 2030s
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Short stories by Bogi Takacs

These stories were included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology.

Recordings of a More Personal Nature

Published: November 2013 in Apex Magazine

Genre: fantasy

Setting: the Temple of some other world

Summary: Access to the Archives has suddenly become difficult. This is causing problems in completing administrative and political tasks. Archivists like Idriwu, who grew up accessing the Archives and therefore have part of their personalities within the Archive, are distraught to lose the connection. Even with aides (like drugs), access is becoming more difficult. Idriwu comes up with the idea of writing down the Archives so the information is still available when access to the Archives ends.

Final thoughts: An interesting concept that the culture would never have developed writing because they have perfect oral transmission of information via the Archive and the archivists. It certainly gives members of the Temple power, but no more than would be obtained if those were the only people who could read and write. I can’t believe any one person would be able to come up with a system of writing in a short time period, even starting with some rudimentary signs.

Title comes from: The assistant to Idriwu made the argument that the archivists should be allowed to make written recordings of their lives spent in the Archive as well as matters of state and history.

Mouse Choirs of the Old Matra

Published: July 2013 in Demeter’s Spicebox

Genre: fairy tale

Setting: the island plains in a distant past

Summary: A wise wizard who lives on the island plains makes friends with a mouse one day. When he feeds the mouse, she turns into a young maiden. The maiden decides to live with the wizard and they spend many happy days together. One day, the maiden decides she wants to marry, but only the best of the best. So, the wizard climbs on his trusty steed and looks to find the best of the best.

Final thoughts: This was a sweet story that followed a very traditional arc. I wasn’t surprised at any point in the story, which made it feel like I’d read it before, or at least something very similar.

Title comes from: When the maiden married, the mouse choirs sang for days under the mountain called Old Matra.

 

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A Cop’s Eye by Blue Delliquanti & Michele Rosenthal

This is the next story in the Future Visions anthology, by someone I’ve never even heard of. Turns out the two authors are known for their comics and illustrations, which explains my lack of knowledge.

Published: 2015

Genre: science fiction

Setting: Minneapolis in the winter, near future Continue reading

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