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Following a recent impassioned call for more short fiction reviewing, made by [ profile] ClowderofTwo, I'm trying to get back into regularly talking about the few pieces of short fiction I manage to read each month. Quality, not quantity is my battle cry! So, here's what I read in October:

Includes stories from Granta, FIYAH, Fireside, Uncanny, Luna Station Quarterly & Shimmer )
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About a month ago, N. K. Jemisin tweeted about Shaenon Garrity's short story "To Whatever". I always trust Jemisin's recs so I slapped this story onto my ever expanding list of woe perfectly manageable and organised list of SFF to investigate. And in June I finally got around to reading it. Hey, life - why so busy?

Read more... )
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How to tell your fake boyfriend you would like to become a robot:

1. Tell him, "I would like to be a robot." You can also say, "I am really a robot, not a female-bodied biological machine," because that is closer to the truth.

2. Do not tell him anything. If you do, you will also have to admit that you think about ways to hurt yourself so you have an excuse to replace body parts with machine parts.

3. Besides, insurance is unlikely to cover your transition into a robot.

A. Merc Rustad's "How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps" reminded me strongly of last year's Hugo contender "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love". Charming, quirky, artfully secretive, and with a similar melancholic emotional pull to Rachel Swirsky's story, "How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps" is for everyone who enjoys literature, robots, and crying in inappropriate places.

Read more... )

"How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps" is available for free at Sciegentasy magazine.

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Susan Hated Literature
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Once, upon a lime, there was a frog.

This frog was the most handsome in all the land, the only frog able to balance his thin green body upon the fat round fruits that fell from Salima Sultan Begum's handsome lime trees. He pressed his candy-yellow toes firmly into the green skins and rolled to and fro and fro and to, all the while chirruping, because the empress also loved the sounds of her garden. This he knew as he was a gentleman frog, and it was important to know the likes and dislikes of one's empress. He, being the only frog, put on a certain show.

Here we are - only the second Short Business post of 2015 - and I've already got to talk about I don't quite get a short story. I've read E. Catherine Tobler's "Once, Upon a Lime" twice now, and I'm still not really clear what it means to give to the reader and what it expects back. Oh well, I suppose there's nothing for it but to forge on and hope someone pops up in the comments with a bit more knowledge than me.

Read more... )

Once, Upon a Lime is available for free at Strange Horizons.

Supplementary Materials
Podcast: "Once, Upon a Lime" read by Anaea Lay

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Tangent Online
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A new year and a new crop of SFF short stories are eligible for The Hugo Awards! Three months before nominations close, hundreds of eligible stories… Yep that's definitely excitement you can sense, not panic.

Last year, I started our Short Business feature because I wanted to learn more about short SFF fiction in the run up to the Hugo voting period. I've always wanted to spend more time reading short fiction, but like Renay, I find short fiction difficult to navigate alone. I wanted to see if blogging about short stories could motivate me to push through the confusing parts and help me get a better grasp on the short form. And it started to work - after starting the feature I found I could read a confusing short story without falling into a swirling vortex of personal doubt and I could make some sort of sense of what I was reading.

More and more short fiction is being published online, and I have access to a gigantic amount of stories that tweak my interests. It's a little overwhelming, but I'm going to continue trying to work short fiction out with my words. So, before Hugo nominations close in March, I plan to read some of the stories our friends and readers have added to our Hugo spreadsheet.

I'm starting with Marie Brennan's "Daughter of Necessity" - a retelling of Penelope's quest to vanquish her unwanted suitors. I love retellings of Ancient Greek stories so "Daughter of Necessity" seemed like the perfect way to kick off Short Business in the New Year, especially as Brennan's A Natural History of Dragons is on my (long) list of highly anticipated novels.

By day she crafts; by night she unmakes. Surely somewhere, in all the myriad crossings of the threads, there is a future in which all will be well. Marie Brennan offers an intriguing new spin on a classic tale.

Read more... )

"Daughter of Necessity" is available for free at

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Susan Hated Literature


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