Thursday, June 2, 2016

Great Things I Read in May (2016)

There were too many good pieces of writing in May. As a result I only finished one novel and two non-fiction books (well, that and copious editing of my own work). I don't regret a moment of it, though it does mean my Favorites list is pretty bulky today. Bulky, and still incomplete.

Short Stories and Flash Fiction

"The Middle Child’s Practical Guide to Surviving a Fairy Tale" by Mari Ness at Fireside Fiction
-Meta on fairy tales is past its Best-By date, and yet Ness has a great steamlined take on them. Here we sympathize with the older (and usually less attractive) sibling in fairytales, the one that usually exists to die horribly as a warning, as a tragedy, or as plot fodder. Over her list of thirteen items, Ness points out the warning signs and tropes you must avoid to survive someone else's magical journey. Being supporting cast is hard. You might as well try to live through it.

"The Rogue State Next Door" by Vajra Chandrasekera at Unsung Stories
-It takes him six paragraphs to establish a cutting satire and vision of the world. It's an uncomfortable story about how the President tries to negotiate with another nation sharing his border, which is apparently so powerful his entire country fears them, and the President won't look through the fence at it. It gives a vaguely surreal vibe akin to Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation, inviting you to wonder if this is a superpower, or some evil alien mega-entity. I kept the tab open to re-read it every week this month. It's like instant fiction: toss this in your imagination and it expands to the fill the container.
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