Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Short story read aloud, week 2

If you're interested in listening to these stories, they should be pretty easy to Google or find in iTunes; but I should add that some of these stories are from years ago, when these podcasts began.

"Gift of the Kites," Jim C. Hines: A boy dealing with a bad family situation (dead mom, beloved Japanese step-dad, quasi-alcoholic biological dad) takes part in a spiritual struggle against Death, as imagined as a black fighting kite. The inevitable happy ending is a little too pat--bio dad suddenly recognizing the value of the son he had previously terrorized--but it's a fine short story.

"Idle Roomer," Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn: maid in a sad rooming house is curious and pities a man who lives there for a long time but is never seen; eventually she learns that he's a fugitive from some other place and witnesses his recapture. A quiet story with some dialogue that verges on the edge of unbelievable (people saying just what the author needs them to say at the moment).

"A Woman's Best Friend," Robert Reed: A variation on It's a Wonderful Life: George jumps off the bridge and gets shifted to a different timeline. There, Mary explains the whole dimension-hopping thing to him. A fun idea, but too talky, even though there is something interesting about George accommodating himself to the idea of going on with life after abandoning his family.

"Celadon," Desirina Boskovich: After an explorer who commits xenocide on a new planet, her newborn child has visions of that other world. That's a fine idea, but the story just sort of ambles without any strong structure.

Lightspeed and Nightmare
"Foul Weather," Daniel H. Wilson: A sort-of-maybe crazy meteorologist discusses the relation between bad weather like storms and evil deeds. Not a traditional story, though there are moments of traditional horror story-telling. An interesting sort of horror for a climate changing world.

"On Murder Island," Matt Williamson: A comic piece about this guy and his friend who kill everyone else on this island. Strange, entertaining, not tightly structured, which is something of a trend with these pieces from Nightmare.

"The Ease With Which We Freed the Beast," Lucius Shepherd: A bunch of punks on the beach, one of whom has a murderous personality. Quite an interesting end, with a jump forward in time to how the narrator is passing on his abuse and why.

"Sacred Cows," Sarah Langan: A put-upon mother, daughter, significant other starts seeing ghosts that may or may not be her mom as parts of her life unravel. The ending is wonderfully mixed and the horrors of daily life are starkly drawn.

Cast of Wonders (Protecting Project PulpTales to TerrifyStarship Sofa)
"Citizen-Astronaut," David D. Levine: A blogger goes to Mars to revive public interest; but the leader of the expedition doesn't want bad press; and then a disaster strikes which requires an innovative solution. Heinleinian in the final part, with the disaster-solution; but pretty wandering on the way there--which, frankly, might also be Heinleinian (though not a quality of his short stories usually).

"The Second Coming," Peter Watts: Read by Watts himself, whose accent gives him away as Canadian: a detective and a psychologist investigate a murder where the murderer claims to be able to alter the source code of the universe. Surprise surprise: she can. A fine story, though the ending is a little predictable.

No comments:

Post a Comment