Friday, August 16, 2013

Short Story Read-Aloud, Week 23


Paolo Bacigalupi, "The People of Sand and Slag": A full-cast recording--which is something I have mixed feelings about--of this story.

Escape Artists (Escape PodPodcastlePseudopod

Joe R. Lansdale, "The Pit": A man captured by backwoods racists is forced to fight in an arena. Not my favorite Lansdale, though his characterization of the reigning black champion as a guy who found something to like in this terrible situation is very interesting.

Donald McCarthy, "Boxed": A man has a magical box that lets him erase memories and he gets into a fight with his girlfriend. While the logistics of erasing bad memories while remembering important info was interesting, the story itself was pretty predictable after that.

Gregory Norman, "Freia in the Sunlight": Honestly, I don't remember, as the story did not keep my interest.

Zen Cho, "The House of Aunts": In Malaysia (I think), a young girl who is also a pontianak--a sort of female vampire--deals with a boy she likes. While this extra-long episode probably didn't need to be extra-long, I enjoyed especially the end, that made clear the gender issues of this particular vampire story. (Don't you know? Vampire stories always have gender issues.)

Lavie Tidhar, "Western Chow Mein Red Dawn": A bit much of a title. A story of a magical China, involving a young Chinese boy who becomes a wizard and hunts down the Englishman who raided his village and mines chi-laden meteorite for the Queen. A nice end that reminds us that English Queen and Chinese Emperor are both bad news for the little people.

Robert E. Howard, "The Phoenix on the Sword": The first Conan story, where Conan was the king who fends off a conspiracy and a monster. As usual, I like Howard's stories.

Cast of Wonders (Protecting Project PulpTales to TerrifyStarship Sofa)

Manly Wade Wellman, "The Golgotha Dancers": A man gets a cursed painting, falls in love with the nurse next door. Even seeing that love plot being set in motion, the suddenness of the protagonist's avowal of love made me laugh.

Jeff VanderMeer, "Secret Life": The usual VanderMeer stuff: funny images and fun language, but plot-light and some of the oddness--all about a business where it's weird--feels like it doesn't go anywhere.

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