Short Fiction Sunday posts are my way of showcasing some of my favorite short stories I read this year. During the months of March and April, I didn’t read any short stories so today, I will discuss some of the best stories I read in May and in June.
During those months, I read 32 short stories from different magazines such as Interzone, Apex Magazine, Clarkesworld and Lightspeed with an average rating of 3,25/5.
Here are my six favorite stories of the month :
Interzone #282 (July-August 2019)
FiGen: A Love Story by Kristi DeMeester – ★★★★☆
A woman notices than her husband is starting to distance himself from their relationship and when she discovers FiGen, a fidelity test based on DNA, she decides to give it a try. Once she receives the result of the test, it completely changes the way she sees her marriage and she starts to obsess over her husband’s potential lover.
This story was very emotional because it discussed how relationship evolves with time and how the action of one partner can affect the other person in the relationship. The story also ended on a hopeful note and I thought it fitted the story well.
Apex Magazine #120 (May 2019)
Fugue State by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due – ★★★★★
What starts off as a story appearing to be about the consequences of an illness on a marriage slowly evolves into a story about a magic cult.
Reading this story was like watching a trainwreck, everything is going wrong for the people involved yet, you can’t look away. I really liked how the mystery was unfolded and, while the ending was hard to read about, it suited the story very well (and, in a very horrifying way, managed to get the couple back together, I guess?).
N-Coin by Tobias S. Buckell – ★★★★☆
What if black people created their own cryptocurrency to earn back the money they’re due because of systemic racism in the U.S. ?
I have to say that Buckell always have the coolest ideas and he plays with them well, this one was no exception. The pacing was perfect, the dark humor was on point and the delivery of the message was clear. It was clearly inspired by the Tulsa race massacre and how white people managed to obliterate Greenwood District and its community. In N-Coin, Buckell imagines a way for the Black community to earn back what they lost because of the massacre.
I would recommend this story to people who liked Ring Shout by P. Djéli Clark. Like Ring Shout, it manages to discuss historical events while introducing interesting concepts and all that in very few words.
Lightspeed Magazine #123 (July 2020)
My Base Pair by Sam J. Miller – ★★★★★
In a world where people are able to buy DNA of celebrities to have children that look like them, a man is searching for his former best-friend who is a Cruise, the nickname for a Tom Cruise lookalike. During his investigation, he slowly realizes how his obsession with his best friend shaped his life and relationships. Will he finally find him or will he be manage to move on?
Sam J. Miller is an amazing writer and this particular story has everything I love in short fiction: beautiful writing, an amazing premise, a non-linear narrative structure and a fantastic ending. I loved how it discussed this possible new type of discrimination and how it could impact the children and our views on celebrities.
The Huntsman and the Beast by Carrie Vaughn – ★★★★☆
This story is a delightful gender-flipped retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Not only were the two main characters good people, I also thought it discussed in a believable way how people would feel if the Beast was a woman and not a man. Would the Beast appear less dangerous ? Would people more afraid of it? I am not always a fan of novelettes, I often prefer short stories or novellas but I really enjoyed this story and I wanted more time with the characters! 🙂
Clarkesworld Magazine #168 (September 2020)
Certainty by Isabel Lee – ★★★★☆
A scientist and his assistant are invited to see a new secret device which allows scientists to predict the future.
As I mentioned before, I am a sucker for non-linear narrative structures and Lee did a fantastic job at blurring several timelines. It was an atmospheric tale for sure and I found myself very unsettled by the premise because, what would be creepier than knowing all the details of your life? Not just how you would die but every single aspect of your life?
I am trying to catch-up on my Short Fiction Sunday posts so I will do my best to post my July and August Highlights soon! 🙂 2021 has been an amazing year for short fiction but I have to admit that I definitely have too many magazine subscriptions running at the same time which explains why I’m more than a year behind on my reading of several subscriptions… 😂