It’s short fiction Monday, and my rotation means it’s time to read the next author in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology, two stories by Jeremy Sim. If you’re interested, you can read both stories online – just follow the link at the magazine name.
by Darryl Knickrehm
Published: January, 2013 in Waylines Magazine
Genre: science fiction
Length: 15 pages
Setting: Pulua Ubin (in Southeast Asia), near future
Summary: Nicholas and Boon run a small, two-room hotel on Pulua Ubin. It’s not as popular as they had hoped, but they’re mostly making do. Things get better, though, when a family of brindlefarbs show up. They’re thermivores, which means they turn everything in the room to ice every night, and the downstairs guests aren’t too pleased. But, Nicholas and Boon keep everyone happy and the hotel running smoothly.
Final thoughts: A fun story in a unique setting. It definitely felt foreign, and like a place I’d want to visit – off the beaten track. The slang the characters used helped put me in the place as well. Nicholas quotes the aliens (you can see what they look like in the illustration) an enormous price for their stay, which he thinks will solve all their financial woes. Unfortunately, the big payday doesn’t come through. But, even so, karma sets them up to receive good things in the future.
Title comes from: It’s the only thing the adult brindlefarb can say. Amazing what you can get across without speaking the language, though.
Addressing the Manticore
Published: March 2013 in Crossed Genres 2.0 Magazine
Setting: Singapore, present day
Summary: Our narrator is a high-school student and he’s losing his first love, Huiling. She’s going to England, and he’s afraid he’s lost the love of his life. Yes, they might fight, and she isn’t as smart as he is, but they are the only ones who can see each other’s summonings. That counts for something, right?
Final thoughts: Again, a sweet story that has an interesting setting. Both kids are worried about passing their O-level tests to figure out where they’re going to go to school. At the same time, they’re falling in love and teasing each other with their summonings. Our narrator is the smarter of the two, but Huiling has the bigger, more impressive summonings. Of course, she can only do evil creatures, but what does he care? And then, they have one last fight and she’s off to England. He tries to send her one last message with his biggest summoning ever, but he’s not even sure she sees it. It does end on a hopeful note, and made me sigh a bit (in a good way) at the end.
Title comes from: One of Huiling’s favorite summonings when she was mad was a manticore