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Short Stories

Links to Short Stories around the Interwebs

Jo Walton - Unreliable WitnessI've come across this 2001 short story called Unreliable Witness by Jo Walton, posted on the Strange Horizons site.

It's a 1st person account, nominally transcribed from tape, by a senile old lady in an old people's home who is visited by an Alien.

It's short, delightful, thought provoking, and ever so slightly emotional as most of us have family members in similar situations (minus the Alien, in most cases, I presume).

The full story can be read here, or listened to as a Podcast on Drabblecast.

Xia Jia - A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight Clarkesworld Magazine has A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight, a rather wonderful story by Xia Jia (translated from the Chinese by Ken Liu) available for your reading in full.

It plays on Ghost Street, an entertainment district, staffed by robots (or are they?), animated by what used to be humans (or so they think?), made for humans. Except that these have stopped visiting - the only human is a boy who was left as a baby and is being looked after by the 'ghosts'.

Fascinating, well written, and ever so slightly creepy and unsettling I found. A story to enjoy, and a writer to watch!

The picture on the right is called Hyakki Yako (Hundred Demon Night Parade) and was painted by Jasmine Becket-Griffith. You can buy prints of it here.

Al Carter by artist Al Williamson Clarkesworld Magazine has a short story by World SF Prize winner Aliette the Bodard available for reading: Scattered Along the River of Heaven

According to her this is "the pseudo-Asian SF story with bots, a dying colonial empire, and a prison orbiting a black hole–aka the one where I had to improvise four pseudo-Chinese poems before I could actually write any of the story’s scenes. " (her words, not mine), and she's been asking for feedback on this, either on Clarkesworld or on the World SF Blog.

The picture on the right is by the late Al Williamson, the winner of the 2010 Spectrum Grand Master Award.

E. Lily Yu - The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist BeesE. Lily Yu has published a short story, alluringly titled The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, which can be read in full on the Clarkesworld Magazine website.

The story has been shortlisted by the SFWA for the 2011 Nebula Awards - in my opinion it is an interesting piece of fiction, and I can only wish her good luck!

It is set in a near-historical China, and is built around the fact that Wasp (and Bee) Hives actually are intelligent - “it was discovered that the wasp nests of Yiwei, dipped in hot water, unfurled into beautifully accurate maps of provinces near and far, inked in vegetable pigments and labeled in careful Mandarin that could be distinguished beneath a microscope.”

If you love maps, or are fascinated by Wasps and Bees, or, alternatively, are interested in the political subcontext, then have a go!

Paul Cornell - The Copenhagen Interpretation Paul Cornell has a BSFA shortlisted novella, called The Copehagen Interpretation available for reading over at Asimov's Science Fiction.

I rather enjoyed this story, which plays in an alternative time line, with a slightly steam-punky Victoriana feeling (no, I wouldn't call it Steampunk, not really), where humanity has spread throughout the Solar System, material/space etc can be contained within and affected by 'folds', and the powers of the day have reached a precarious (and protected at great effort) 'Balance', which in turn has stopped all or most research and exporation (as this would be one-sided, and thus threaten the balance).

But then again, any story which mashes up Quantum Theory with a contrapunktion (see what I did there?) of Dr Duncan MacDougall's Weight of the Soul and the Dark Matter in the universe gets my vote, for sure!

Read it for yourself here - and if you enjoy it, why not vote for it at the BSFA Awards?

Andy Weir - The Martian


Doris Lessing – The Sirian Experiments


Ken MacLeod - Cosmonaut Keep


Sydney Padua - The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage


Doris Lessing - Shikasta


Tricia Sullivan – Occupy Me


Liz Williams - Empire of Bones


Thomas Pynchon - Slow Learner


Charles Stross - The Atrocity Archives


S.P. Somtow – I Wake from a Dream of a Drowned Star City


Lavie Tidhar - Central Station


Somtow Sucharitkul - The Throne of Madness


Ian Sales – Adrift on the Sea of Rains


Somtow Sucharitul – Starship & Haiku


Peter Watts – Maelstrom, Powered by Mambo!; free resources by SiteGround