Short Fiction Sunday | January Highlights

Here are the four short stories I liked the most in January, at first I wanted to combine my short fiction favorites of January and February but it was too long so I’ll do another SFS next week with my February picks!

I chose to only review a few stories to be more thorough and really explain why I liked them so much. I have full reviews of the issues mentionned available on Goodreads if you want to read my thoughts on all the stories.

Clarkesworld #146

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“The Gift of Angels: an introduction” by Nina Allan ★★★★★

The Gift of Angels is set in a future version of Paris and follows a writer as he tries to learn more about his mother. She was one of the first astronauts who died on a mission to Mars and it deeply affected his life. He follows her steps in Paris as he visits places she once went to. Paris was the city his parents met and fell in love and the writer tries to imagine what their encounters were like as he goes from museums to museums and streets to cafés.
I really admire Nina Allan, she’s a great writer so I’m always looking forward to her stories. I’m also a bit biased because I studied and lived in Paris. I love this city and reading about streets and places I used to go to was both nostalgic and heartwarming. I also liked the focus Allan’s made on art in this novella, several paintings and movies are at the heart of this story and it made me enjoy it even more. It’s a slow story but it’s a beautiful one.

You can read this story here.

 

“Death on Mars” by Madeline Ashby ★★★★★

It’s my second favorite story of the issue, the title of the story is a bit misleading because I was expecting a war story or a military one set on Mars but it’s actually a very quiet story. It follows the crew of a spaceship studying samples from Mars and how their group dynamic is shattered when they learn about the illness of their leader.

It’s a poignant and sad little story and it left me in tears at the end. I read other stories by Ashby and I enjoyed them as well but this one is the best I read by her so far. I really need to check her longer works. 

If you want to read another review of that story, I highly recommend Maddalena’s review over at Space & Sorcery!

You can read this story here.

 

Apex Magazine June 2018

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“Suzie Q” – Jacqueline Carey ★★★★★

A young girl with a bad reputation enters a magic school where she hopes to start over. However, it doesn’t happen when she’s betrayed by people she trusted and she’s now on the street trying to keep her inner demon in her body while protecting a little boy.

I love Carey’s longer epic fantasy works but it was the first time I tried her short fiction. I really liked Suzie Q, my favorite aspect of the story was seeing how the events of the story influenced Suzanne’s character arc. The pacing and the writing were excellent and the ending was very satisfying.

Read this story here.

 

“Three Meetings of the Pregnant Man Support Group” – James Beamon ★★★★

What would happen if men were pregnant? You might think that you have read this story a million time over but I can assure you Beamon’s take on this trope is pretty original and worth your time.

In this story, men are expecting alien babies according a contract binding aliens with humans. In exchange for advanced tech, a couple of chosen men bear alien babies. This story follows a pregnant man and the meetings he has with a support group of other pregnant men. At first, it’s hilarious but the tone gets more and more serious as we learn about the implications of those pregnancies and how they affect the chosen men.

Read this story here.

 

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