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Links to Short Stories around the Interwebs

Debbie Urbanski - An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried

Here is a short - story? - fitting for a slightly depressing, dry, blue January. Debbie Urbanski talks in her story An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried on Vice Motherboard about the End of Humanity. 

The story is subtitled 'Working Back from Human Extinction', and does exactly that - provide a list of events and interventions, in reverse chronological order, of the run-up to human extinction. You will not be surprised that it begins in the today, or maybe even the yesterday, with 'Turn off the lights when you are no longer in the room.'

But if the path to hell is paved with good intention, then the path to human extinction is paved with decisions made with the best intentions. At least some of them, the rest of course were made due to greed, other interests than humanity overall, or simply stupidity...

But read for yourself...

Links: Debbie Urbanski - An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried - Vice - Motherboard

 

Karin Tidbeck - The Bone PlainHere's a little treat for you, and fresh off the press (virtually only, though):

Uncanny Magazine has, in its November/December issue, a story by Karin Tidbeck called The Bone Plain - talking about running away, about finding your own way, or maybe yourself. And about redemption, maybe.

But read for yourself, the story is not very long, but very much worth reading!

Karin Tidbeck is a Swedish writer of Weird Fiction, sometimes, as is the case here, with a hint of Fantasy (or 70s SF art? I could picture the Bone Plain setting as such!), and a new and exciting voice that you should not miss!

 

Links: Karin Tidbeck - The Bone Plain - Uncanny Magazine

 

For this month I'd like to point you, not for the first time, at a short story by Aliette de Bodard.

This time is a classic adventure tale called The Dragon's Tears, initially published by Electric Velocipede in 2008, and re-published by Lightspeed Magazine this month (you can obtain a hardcopy of the issue via the link below!)

The story is one which has been told in ever so many variants across all the different cultures - it follows a young man who goes on an adventure to obtain the means to heal his terminally ill mother. I'm not going to spill what makes this iteration of the trope specific, you can find that out yourself through the old-fashioned process of reading the story, but I can confirm that this is indeed well written, and affecting, and worth your time.

The rather wonderful picture on the right is from an artist calling him/herself Reverie Addict, and is not related to the story save by sharing its title.

Links: Aliette de Bodard - The Dragon's Tears - Electric Velocipede - Lightspeed Magazine - Reverie Addict 

 

And here is a little rarity - a story about a society at war, about how societies' structures and norms change in such circumstances, but especially about the price of taking up arms and of killing, and an unusual take on how to end war and bring about peace.

Unusual, maybe, but something I can greatly sympathise with - described and executed with the clarity and simplicity of mind of a child, and an impeccable logic.

The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile by Aliette de Bodard is set in her Xuya Universe, in the future/SF branch, and was originally published by Subterranean Press. A lot of things remain unsaid, unexplained, and you don't need to know them to appreciate the story and its marvelous conclusion. You also don't need to be familiar with the other Xuya works to appreciate this, either (but I would suggest you start reading these should you like this short story!)

The image on the right comes from Pinterest and without original attribution - if anybody knows where it is from then please let me know, so I can add credit where credit it due!

Links: Aliette de Bodard - The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile - Subterranean Press

 

In-between all these reviews, and my complaining of stories falling short of my overly picky expectations here and there, let's give this a break. Here is a treat instead, in the shape of a link to and a recommendation for a short story by Ian McDonald, called Some Strange Desire.

It concerns the machinations of a subspecies, a variant of humanity, two chromosomes apart, living alongside us. They are gender-fluid, able to change quickly and as desired. They work as prostitutes, as they require human haploid cells they acquire during sexual intercourse, to allow their extended life span. But there are threats to them, now, both from within their own making, and from the outside.

And I suspect I've told you too much already, just to whet your appetites. The cultural background Ian wrote for this is part Jewish, part West-African/Haitian Voodoo, and part Witchcraft, and it's utterly fascinating.

The story was originally published in Omni Magazine, and was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. The illustration is by Robert K. J. Killheffer.

Links: Ian McDonald - Some Strange Desire - Omni Magazine - Robert K. J. Killheffer

 

 

Sydney Padua - The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

 

Doris Lessing – The Sirian Experiments

 

Tricia Sullivan – Occupy Me

 

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

 

Thomas Pynchon - Slow Learner

 

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

 

Iain Sinclair - Radon Daughters

 

Thomas Pynchon – Gravity’s Rainbow

 

Peter Watts - Blindsight


Andy Weir - The Martian

 

Ken MacLeod - Cosmonaut Keep

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