Friday, July 26, 2013

Short Story Read-Aloud, Week 20


E. Lily Yiu, "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees": Told at sort of a macro level with a bunch of episodes: some wasps make maps, get evicted by humans; the wasps start a new colony, conquer and enslave some bees; some servant bees learn anarchism from the wasps and start their own colony; the humans come back and kill off the wasps; the bees who lived under the wasps have to figure out their own way; while the anarchist bees die off.

Escape Artists (Escape PodPodcastlePseudopod

Eric Czuleger, "Immortal L.A.": Something about vampires. The audio level was pretty low and indistinct, so I couldn't hear the story.

Lightspeed and Nightmare 

Megan Arkenberg, "The Huntsman": Which Huntsman? Just kidding--it's another fairy-tale-inflected/rewritten, a sort of modernization take-off of Snow White's Huntsman character. Frankly, I didn't see the point of this story: the huntsman isn't a very interesting character and I'm not sure what themes this revision is meant to explore.

Cast of Wonders (Protecting Project PulpTales to TerrifyStarship Sofa)

Martin Mundt, "The Day I Didn’t Meet Christopher Walken": A humorous story about the author getting caught in a robbery at a convenience store--at which point Christopher Walken comes in, absorbs all the attention by acting weird, and dismembers the robbers. Would've been funnier if shorter, but a nice mix of comedy, horror, and surreality.

Nina Kiriki Hoffman, "My Tears Have Been My Meat": An abused woman poisons her husband, but despite the warnings of her dead daughter, the woman stays around long enough to see the abuser (powered by tears and blood) rise from the dead. The soul-sucking zombie might be a little hoary, but it's enlivened (ba-dum-ching) by being tied to something serious, like abuse.

Kim Newman, "Illimitable Dominion": Another light story--though a little long--about a guy in the 60's with a chimp who wants to get Edgar Allan Poe's "Rue Morgue" made into a movie; and who inadvertently kicks off a Poe craze. A nice blending of real movie history with some alternate history.

Stephen Volk, "After the Ape": After King Kong, Ann Darrow is distraught and drunk; and invites a waiter in the hotel to visit with her for a while. Both have wildly disparate ideas about what's going on. A fine parallel tale/unofficial sequel idea, but a little draggy.

Tim Powers, "The Way Down the Hill": A secret society of immortals gets reincarnated whenever they die; except they do so by pushing out other souls into the dark void. So when a few immortals try to start a conspiracy, the protagonist exposes them and says it's time for them to start dying normal deaths.

Matt Hughes, "A Passion Ploy": Alien artifact fascinates people in the criminal underground; turns out to be alien seedpod that wants to plant itself in people. Entertaining voice with interesting killer plant twist.

Eric Taylor, "Kali": A man's fiancee is under the guardianship of a widow who is in thrall to--gasp!--a Hindu. There's some very awkward and amateur exposition here--like the fiancee explaining her history to her beau. Not worth it.

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