On a lighter note, for once - here is a classic little tale, written by the inimitable Seth Kallen Deitch, called The Gaon of Chozzerai, published in Rudy Rucker's currently dormant Flurb magazine (worth reading around in, much recommended!)
I leave it to the reader to establish the meaning of the title - let's just say that it's quite pertinent to the story, which deals with a parallel dimension where things that are lost end up, and the fortunes of the (failed) scientist who finds his way there. If you ever wanted to know where your missing single socks go, this story provide an solution to the riddle.
This is a fun story, and whilst not terribly deep or important, but well worth reading.
The picture on the right is unattributed, and comes from a alien conspiracy site. If it's yours please let me know, and I'll add a reference!
Let me draw your attention to an older story - Spider the Artist was Nnedi Okorafor's first 'pure' Science Fiction story (her words). So no Fantasy, no Folk Magic (well...), but, even with this first effort, her very own, distinct brand of African Dystopia.
The story is set around an oil pipeline, with the usual going-ons that such a transport for valuable goods brings. Except that pipeline is guarded by 8-legged, spider-like robots who do not take kindly to people tapping the pipeline, or interfering with it in any way. But it is also a love story, and a promise for the future, which is something I greatly appreciate in such a setting.
This was first published in an anthology called Seeds of Change (worth reading!), and later on re-published in Lightspeed Magazine, where you can read the story in full.
The picture on the right are illustrations from the Finnish translation of the story, as published in the magazine Tähtivaeltaja.
I have no idea how this short piece by Douglas R. Hofstadter, one of my heroes (as much as he does my head in at times), managed to pass me by for such a long time. I blame my friends and fellow bloggers for failing to point this out to me ...
Douglas uses an analogy which as simple as it is shocking - he talks about our uses of sexist language, and on his struggle to change his own usage, by writing an analogy in the language of racism, which for most of us (there's sadly some Neatherthals left, still) is an absolute no-no.
Of course, this being Hofstadter, this is not a straight switch, but with some clever observations of language as well as invented by very believable parables thrown in, and a brief afterword talking about his motivations for the piece as well as his own struggles with the topic.
Yes, I've spoiled your surprise, now; but not your enjoyment of Hofstadter's fine writing. Go read it, and then pass it on.
It's the first story I can remember written around 3 cups of Chinese Tea, one type each per cup!
It is set in her Xuya universe, in this case in the 22nd Century, discussing the death of a researcher into how to provide the food supply for the civilisation on space ships and stations, and the grieving by her children, and official (who should have received her memory implants, but didn't for political reasons), and the mindship The Tiger in the Banyan.
It was published (and can be read online) in Clarkesworld, and is also available as a Podcast; and it is nominated for the 2015 BSFA awards.
Here's another marvellous short story by Karin Tidbeck, published on Tor.com. Sing talks about being, about becoming, and about belonging; and about the price we pay for those. I'd strongly recommend you give it a go (and her other short stories. And her books, inasmuch as available in English. Unless you read Swedish, of course!)
Tor gives us the following blurb for Sing:
In a village on the distant colony of Kiruna, the outcast Aino has worked hard to created a life for herself. The fragile status quo is upset when the offworlder Petr arrives and insists on becoming a part of her life. But he has no idea what it will cost him, and has cost Aino, to belong to the people who sing with inhuman voices.