When someone says their story is a fairy tale, that sets up certain expectations — about the type of character you’ll encounter, the style of writing, the general trend of the plot. If those expectations are not met, it had better be for good reason. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that that was always the case here. Probably I could have enjoyed this story more if I hadn’t been told that it was supposed to be a fairy tale.
Fasel Inohiye lives on the tourist planet of Cornucopia and provides “personal services” to those who visit. It’s a pretty good job, bringing in decent money — and when he’s accosted in an alley after a well-paying night, his first thought is that he’s going to be mugged for his money. Instead, it was his face that the thief was seeking.
The rest of the story was about Fasel’s attempt to find someone to help him get his face back, and with good economy of words Cottrill managed to draw a couple of really sympathetic and engaging characters. A well put together story, that I enjoyed a lot.
Steven and his brother Kevin live in Williamsburg, not far from the spaceport that sends regular rockets to Mars with all the luxuries that could only be obtained on earth. This story traces two days in their lives, and it is a beautiful mixture of the mundane — daily life, brotherhood, rivalries — and the momentous — when their life shifts and nothing is as it was before.
Grey captures exceedingly well the experience of being out in public, terrified of anyone noticing you or asking you a question. And it took me all the way until the end of the story to realise there is not a speculative drop in it.
(First published in Flash Fiction Online 2013).
The aliens have arrived, and they’ve captured Shakespeare — they need him to write a new play to convince their homeworlds to cease their war. So who do they turn to when Shakespeare is recalcitrant? An adjunct university lecturer, who researches Shakespeare, of course.
This was a rollicking fun story, full of humor, which I enjoyed a lot.
(First published in Every Day Fiction 2018).
I won’t give away too much of the story if I quibble with its title: Instead of “anniversary”, it should be “anniversaries“. This not-quite-a-time-travel story hinted at complexities that are never quite explained, but the ending is satisfying enough that I didn’t really care about the unanswered questions I had.
In this story, Weiss combines the power of marketing with the elusive lure of virtual reality to create a glimpse of a possible future which both vaguely unsettles me and makes me really, really hungry for cheese.
Once a year all the Ladies in White from across history gather for their annual conference — this year, in a hotel “like an antique wedding cake preserved by moonlight” (p. 8), as only befits such a gothic gathering — except this year they aren’t the only people at their hotel. Chance has brought the narrator, herself a woman spurned, to the same hotel, and for a night she is adopted into their company. But she’s not ready, not yet, to become a lady in white herself. This is quite a hopefully, uplifting story for such a ghostly premise.