One of the unfortunate parts of short stories is that it's harder to remember the author's name afterwards. When you've been reading a book for a few weeks, you've had more time to commit the author to memory. But when you finish a short story in less than an hour, it's natural to instantly forget who wrote it - even if you happened to love the work. That's kind of hard on talented short story writers who've put in the effort and written something brilliant...only to be forgotten? How can they build on that success if we can't find ways to even remember their names?
I've been listening to some great short stories lately on various science fiction and fantasy podcasts, and I wanted to share them with you so we can spread the word about these talented writers (and to help me to remember their names so I can keep an eye out for their next publications). In no particular order, here are three recent short stories that I really enjoyed and links to the podcast and written versions at their respective magazines.
Werewolf Loves Mermaid by Heather Lindsley (Lightspeed Magazine)
I loved the simplicity of this story. What happens when a werewolf and a mermaid fall in love? It sounds silly, but these non-human characters seemed so familiar and natural. These could be your friends, just falling in love, becoming a serious item, living out their years together - they just happen to be supernatural creatures. I think it was the strength of the writing that made this story work. In lesser hands, it would have been goofy, but Lindsley's got the touch and even pulls off some humor.
The Adjunct by Patricia S. Browne (Fantasy Scroll Magazine)
Maybe it's my academic background, but I could very much identify with this story in which an underemployed adjunct professor takes a job teaching an anatomy course to the demons in hell. Again, sounds silly, but you read it and you believe it. It's also a really good example of how to use specific, concrete detail (in this case, parts of the body), without getting bogged down in purple prose. Loved the ending too.
The Algebra of Events by Elizabeth Bourne (Clarkesworld Magazine)
This one is from the perspective of an alien aboard a colony ship that crash lands on a strange planet that is unfortunately inhospitable to the aliens' fluid body forms. It was the line, "I am 7.8% solid with grief," that sold me on the story. I liked the idea that different life forms might experience emotions in physically very different ways from us, even if it's more or less the same set of feelings. Very novel. Check it out, it really is quite compelling and sad. One note though, I don't love the production values on the Clarkesworld podcast. They use this weird audio filter to make it sound more futuristic, but it only makes it harder to understand the narrator, especially if there are other interfering noises, like the car engine or rain on the windshield. Maybe read the text version instead.
I hope you'll check these stories out and enjoy. Funny how they all turned out to be from women writers, totally random choice on my part :)
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