Hugo 2020 Reading – June

Summer has hit and I’ve signed myself and my kids up for the summer reading program at the library. I’ve already read 300 minutes worth, some for the Writing the Other class, and some for here.

As a reminder, my story “Tattered Flower” comes out from The Arcanist around July 12th, so check it out.

The Last Eagle” by Natalia Theodoridou
a short story published by Clarkesworld

I’m not the audience for this story. It was a wistful longing for things lost in war, a journey of searching in a world that I didn’t really care to explore, with characters that weren’t particularly endearing to me. Post-apocalyptic worlds just don’t interest me, and as for the characters, while I’ve dealt with depression, I don’t like dwelling there in fiction.

Ephemera” by Avra Margariti
a short story published by The Arcanist

My story ideas lately have dealt with fantastical beings that have a hard time living in the human world, so this story of a phoenix in girl form fit that exactly. Though like “The Last Eagle” this one deals with the depression of the phoenix’s lover. The complex thoughts that surround the situation felt real, though there was no solid ending.

“Thanatos Drive” by Andrew Dykstal
a novelette published in Writers of the Future vol 35

And here’s another post-apocalyptic world. My main critique of this story is that as I was reading, it felt like I was missing details. Little things that would make the world seem real. It did have some interesting twists, but I found myself not caring, perhaps because I didn’t have grounding in implications of those twists before it was revealed.

Bootleg Jesus” by Tonya Liburd
a short story published by Diabolical Plots

This was an intriguing world – a town with no magic in a world where elsewhere, some had almost god-like powers. This story was told in a deliberately sparse fashion, which made sense with Mara’s age, but it did make me feel distanced from her.

Content warning: abuse, described in vague terms

The Minor Superhero, at Home after His Series Ends” by Adam-Troy Castro
a short story published by Lightspeed

This story was fun poking at the superhero tropes that happen in comic books. The coincidences that perfectly align, the cattle calls, how everything always happens to the same five or six people. It was cute to see Bob settle down and be satisfied with just protecting his apartment building while the demi-gods took care of everything else. The main reason this didn’t get give stars from me is that there really wasn’t a plot. This story didn’t really need one, as it was more of an examination of what a serious look at superhero life would be, but as a reader, that’s what I like most.

(5 stars) “Advice for Your First Time at the Faerie Market” by Nibedita Sen
a short story published by Fireside Magazine

A story about a mother instantly gets my attention. Her love for her daughter really came through as she had to reinvent recipes to incorporate fae food. The food descriptions were intriguing. And then the twist about outwitting the fae was brilliant. I loved this story.

content warning: domestic violence, not graphic

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