Hugo 2020 Reading – August

August was pretty much a lost cause for writing. I changed meds again, wiping me out on the weekends, and sapping my energy on the weekdays. It didn’t help that I’ve been avoiding “Drones of a Fal’Cie” because I never came up with a fix for the many concerns people had about the ending. But I have two shiny new stories to work on, so that’s fun.

As for reading, I’ve been reading some non-fiction for book club – Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King which have both been fascinating reads. Here’s the fiction I got to.

“Are You the Life of the Party?” by Mica Scotti Kole
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 35

This sci-fi story turned into horror at the end, so not my usual interest. I still felt a bit confused at the end about what the prank was that led to Eddie’s state of mind. I did like that it upended the trope that if a scientific experiment goes wrong, the scientist should be executed, when any regular scientist would want to study those results and figure out why.

Temptation” by Karuna Riazi
a short story published by Podcastle

I must have missed things in this story when I was listening to it, because I became confused as to what had happened to Kayla. I did like the Islamic folklore and the approach of fasting to refuse enchanted food that would entrap you. It had tantalizing descriptions of said food, as well as the memory of food.

The Weather Dancer” by Aisha Phoenix
a short story published by Strange Horizons

The fantastical element is more subtle in this story. It’s a slow, gentle story, about death and mourning. Lots of emotion. Just not what I look for from the stories I choose.

A Prophecy Fulfilled” by Stephen Charles Curro
a short story published by Daily Science Fiction

I could see the twist coming as I read this story, but it was still a fun read. I did find the sign of the comet and the sign of the bruised forest confusing. The former, because I thought the red streak was the Winged Terror itself, and not just a sign, and the bruised forest because I didn’t think a disease would spread that fast. Still I had fun reading it.

(5 stars) “Loneliness in Transit, Sixty Light Years from Earth” by Kurt Hunt
a short story published by Flash Fiction Online

I’m a sucker for parent-child stories, so this one pulled me in right away, even though the parent was an artificial intelligence of a ship, and the child was a construct incubating a new start for humanity. Starting colonization of a new planet is common, but this take on it felt really fresh. I also loved the image of a zombie space-bat.

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