Friday, September 9, 2016

Short Fiction - August 2016

Short Fiction - August 2016

My short story "diet" in August was a little different than usual, as I focused a lot of my reading on a single-author collection that I'll be reviewing separately in a few days. Of the stories I read in August that were not part of that collection, one in particular jumped out at me, and I felt I should give it its own post rather than tack it on to my upcoming review.

"Walls of Nigeria"
by Jeremy Szal

Length: 973 words
Category: Short story (science fiction)
Where Published: Nature
When Published: 2016-08-10
Link (free)

Nature is one of the three venues that I read fairly regularly for flash fiction, the other two being Daily Science Fiction and Every Day Fiction. In this short piece, a soldier fitted with bio-armor to defend the Earth against an alien threat is left behind in his homeland of Nigeria when his superiors deem him dangerous to what's left of the human race.

Like the author of the story (according to his story commentary here), I've long been drawn to stories about power armor, starting with Joe Haldeman's The Forever War, John Steakley's Armor, and of course Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. I'm impressed that Szal has managed to deliver such a complex mood, one that feels fresh to me, in so few words. At the same time, this story shares with its predecessors the message that war, with or without power armor, cuts off a whole generation of soldiers from the rest of humanity.

I also want to mention that Nature gives illustrations to most of its "Futures" stories; all of the ones I've seen have been by an artist going by the single name "Jacey." The illustrations are often simple but effective. Click through to the story to see this one.

Additional stories read in August 2016:

(alphabetical by author)

- "Primordia" by Sarah Crysl Akhtar (2016)
- "In Sickness and in Health" by Gustavo Bondoni (2016)
- "Like a Ghost I'm Gonna Haunt You" by Curtis C. Chen (2016)
- "A Man of Action" by Liz Colter (2016)
- "On the Eyeball Floor" by Tina Connolly (2008)
- "The Chocolate Song" by Helen de BĂșrca (2016)
- "Liza and the Crazy Water Man" by Andy Duncan (1996)
- "You Can’t Take It with You" by Lisa Finch (2016)
- "The Day Poppo Came Down to Breakfast, Twice" by James Alan Gotaas (2016)
- "Fingerprints" by Jason M. Harley (2016)
- "Childish Things" by Steven Hicks (2016)
- "God State" by Michelle Ann King (2016)
- "Floating in My Tin Can" by Gerri Leen (2016)
- "Circular Landscapes" by Alexandria Mansfield (2016)
- "Ex Angel" by Viara R. Mileva-Seitz (2016)
- "Sustaining Memory" by Coral Moore (2016)
- "Oh Susanna" by Mandy Nicol (2016)
- "How I Found My Way Here" by Stephen V. Ramey (2016)
- "Waking Beauty" by Martha Soukup (1996)
- "Killer Grandma" by Jeremy Szal (2016)
- "Buying the Farm" by Arlaina Tibensky (2016)
- "Hole in the Wall" by Lauren Triola (2016)
- "Cup of Love" by Kathryn Trudeau (2016)
- "MPDB" by Tyler Young (2016)

List of the sources from which these stories came:

(alphabetical by anthology title, magazine title, website name, etc.)

- Daily Science Fiction, Aug 2016
- Diabolical Plots, Aug 2016
- Digital Science Fiction: QuickFic, Aug 2016
- Every Day Fiction, Aug 2016
- Nature, Aug 2016
- One Teen Story, July 2016
- Starlight 1 (anthology, edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden), 1996
- Strange Horizons, June 2008

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