Hugo 2020 Reading – February

It’s been an eventful month. A Disney World trip, my washing machine broke, and now, the coronavirus is throwing things into chaos. The hospital where the Washington deaths occurred is the hospital I go to, so if a quarantine hits, I’m going to be right in the middle of it. Kids are home today while teachers are trained on how to do remote teaching. It almost feels like I’m in a science fiction story. Enough about that though. Here’s the stories I read this month.

Telecorp” by Kelly Kurtzhals Geiger
a short story published by The Arcanist

I had a hard time grasping the world in this story. The company’s practices didn’t make sense. Seeing what kind of corporate jobs would be given to telepaths and seers was interesting, though.


“Dirt Road Magic” by Carrie Callahan
a short story published in Writers of the Future volume 35

I’m not a fan of gritty stories, but I did like how this one compared magic and addiction. I also liked how Jake’s relationship with magic evolved over the course of the story.


“A Certain Slant of Light” by Preston Dennett
a short story published in Writers of the Future volume 35

I could see the twist on this story coming from the beginning. The characters’ reactions didn’t make much sense to me, either. Would Walter have been as pushy if Caleb had been visiting a grave instead of a time bubble? And then the security didn’t make sense. First off, it felt jarring when it was introduced, as I had been imagining the bubble without it for quite a while. Then they increased it, which sounds like its going to be an obstacle for Caleb. But when he goes through, it’s super easy, barely an inconvenience. The tone of the story is pretty good at least.


The Fifth Day” by Tochi Onyebuchi
a short story published by Uncanny

I don’t really care for stories that are set outside of time and space, like this was. It did do a great job of hitting me with emotions at the third day. I feel like I would have understood this story better if I was reading it, as the audio did not delineate the sections with I, II, etc. I also really enjoyed listening to the author interview at the end of the podcast, where Onyebuchi explains how his experience with bipolar II inspired various choices in the story.


(5 stars) “Beyond the El” by John Chu
a short story published by Tor.com

I like food stories, and this one about food crafting was interesting and well described. Although that was really more set-dressing to the main conflict of Connor and his sister. The pain of the abuse and the grief was really well done.


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