SHORT STORY MIXTAPE [VOL. 2]
I’ve been mainly focused on Angela Slatter’s “The Bitterwood Bible & Other Recountings”, which is a prime example of short fiction done right. The collection weaves tales without an effort and Slatter successfully manages to open up her world in a way I’ve not seen a novel do before. It’s a great accomplishment and utilizes the format of inter-connected short stories very well. I’ll be reviewing the book for SF Signal soon, so you can expect to read that soon.
Anyway, let’s move on to the short stories circulating around the web. Links are in the title.
“Headache” by Julio Cortázar: This is the first translation in English and I think it’s done with great skill. The story in itself is slow and at time tedious to read, but that’s intentional as the way it’s told is in harmony of the painful experience of raising mancuspias – strange creatures that can inflict strange and insufferable conditions upon their caretakers. The story’s a descent into madness with a very powerful ending. Not for everyone. Not for a single reading.
“The Rocketeer” by Rebecca Hodgkins: A quiet story focusing more about the human lives of those who take on the great frontier as space explorers and explorers. The story successfully gives you a throwback to Golden Age science fiction fascinated about space exploration and disenchants the same notion with the reality of those who chose this lifestyle and the circumstances behind their decision to take to space.
“Rib” by Yukimi Ogawa: I adore this because it tackles some dark Japanese folklore and tells a rather disturbing story of bloody family politics, but Ogawa’s delivery and approach to dialogue reminds you of American suburbia. The disconnection and contrast between subject matter and style create a bizarre, but still enjoyable experience.
“Crowd Control” by Gareth D. Jones, Aliette De Bodard, Nancy Fulda, Deborah Walker, John Murphy, and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley: It’s a short story experiment with six authors writing a segment following the minimal of guidelines and then stitching all fragments into a whole narratives. It’s clean, tight and explores science fiction through a relaxed plot lens. The plot threads come together seamlessly in the last segment. The whole story is a brilliant example of the virtues of collaborations and experimentation. I feel very satisfied having read this.