Short Fiction Sunday | July & August Highlights

Short Fiction Sunday posts are my way of showcasing some of my favorite short stories I read this year.

During July and August, I read 24 short stories from different magazines such as Interzone, Apex Magazine, Clarkesworld and Lightspeed with an average rating of 3,25/5.

Here are reviews of five of the best stories I read in July and August :

Lightspeed #124 (September 2020)

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Moses by L.D. Lewis – ★★★★☆

A woman with psychic abilities struggles to control her power and decides to leave her family in order to protect them from herself. She tries to drown her power by using drugs but she often finds herself going back to her sister’s home when she’s under the influence.

I really liked how this story tackled issues of addictions, how they can affect entire families and how people who know you well can help you during difficult times.

Destinations of Waiting by Alexander Weinstein – ★★★★☆

Destinations of Waiting is a tourist guide describing fantastical places. While all the places are fictional, I really enjoyed this story because a lot of them reminded of places I went to and things I’ve experienced. It’s a story I would highly recommend to people who don’t often read short stories because it’s very fun and the format is very unique.

Clarkesworld #169 (October 2020)

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You and Whose Army? by Greg Egan – ★★★★☆

This story follows quadruplets implanted at birth with illegal neurolinks allowing them to experience the lives of their other siblings during their sleep. One day, one of the siblings disappears and the brothers are unable to access his memories through the link. Was the missing brother kidnapped or did he decide to free himself from his brothers?
Egan’s stories tend to be hit or miss for me but I really liked this one. Learning more about the brothers, their relationships and how much their links shaped their lives was fascinating. I wouldn’t mind reading an entire novel following the quadruplets!

Apex Magazine #121 (January-February 2021)

Root Rot by Fargo Tbakhi – ★★★★★

A man who has fled his home in Palestine hoping for a better life on Mars is now drowning his feelings in alcohol while trying to live through colonial oppression. This was a strong opening to the first issue of Apex Magazine after their hiatus.

Root Rot is a difficult story to read as it tackles hard issues such as the Palestinian and Israeli conflict (because in this future, the conflict is continuing on another planet), colonialism and addiction. The prose is stunning and even if I read this story in July, I still think about it. It’s the kind of story that makes you ask yourself difficult questions and even if some parts were unpleasant and uncomfortable to read, I’m glad I read it.

Your Own Undoing by PH Lee – ★★★★★

A fantasy master is enslaved by her own student and now believes that her life is story that she’s reading. A story about stories, who doesn’t love those?

I really liked how Lee used the second person narrative here because it worked well for this particular story. Indeed, since the main character believes that she’s reading a story, her only way to realize the things she’s reading about are happening to her is by noticing that the narrator of the story is talking to her.

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