Hugo 2019 Reading – November

November was a bit of a whirlwind for me. Beyond holidays and life, I did another draft of Soulmates, though I never blogged about it. Waiting for some feedback from beta readers before submitting it again. And I’ve been reading/watching Fairy Tail. Became a bit obsessed with it, actually, to the point I’m actually writing fanfiction for the first time in 15 years. Before talking about that though, here are the stories I read this month:

Waves of Influence” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires
a short story published by Clarkesworld

Halfway through, this story had a plot twist that took it to a surprising, yet inevitable ending, and in doing so made an interesting commentary on people who seek fame through social media. For some reason, I never felt attached to the character, probably because I didn’t understand her motivation of becoming someone else to get her sister’s attention.

Monologue by an unnamed mage, recorded at the brink of the end” by Cassandra Khaw
a short story published by Uncanny

This story is very poetic. I do prefer my prose plain, so I didn’t get as much out of this story, but I can appreciate the beautiful turns of phrase and the emotion behind it.

(5 stars) “The Thing About Ghost Stories” by Naomi Kritzer
a novelette published by Uncanny

I love the emotion Kritzer is able to put into her stories. This one, about the connection the narrator had with her mother and the struggle of dealing with Alzheimer’s and death was really sweet. And its an interesting juxtaposition with the narrator’s own skepticism of ghost stories that have a beginning, middle, and end. It surprised me, made me laugh. Really good story.

Care” by Michael W Cho
a short story published by Daily Science Fiction

I don’t particularly care for this kind of story, where we don’t get the full details of the situation until the end. I didn’t really buy that Makato was feeling love at the end either. I didn’t understand who he was supposed to love or why. I guess its supposed to be Care, but she was so clinical, that it felt like she was caring for him because it was her job, not because she loved him first.

Rotkäppchen” by Emily McCosh
a short story published by Shimmer

This story is full of great sensory detail and a mournful mood. It’s an interesting twist to the Red Riding Hood story, about Little Red when she’s now a grandma, passing the legacy to her granddaughter, and the wolves aren’t evil. Personally, I didn’t care for the wolf’s obfuscation, but to each his own.

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