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2015 Stories 208 - 210

Stories from a variety of places:

208. FALLING UNDER, THROUGH THE DARK by Damien Angelica Walters, from Black Static #46.   Kara has suffered a recent devastating loss, and now often feels like she's falling into water and drowning; the feeling is so overwhelming it shuts out the reality around her. In fact, the way Walters describes the sensation throughout the story, there's a question (for me, as the reader) as to whether there isn't something supernatural going on. And that's the secret strength of this story: that it balances on the knife's edge of events having both a supernatural and more mundane explanation. And let's face it: Walters is at her best when she's exploring the nature of grief, the impact of loss, the giving over of controlled self to raw emotion. Kara is a recognizable and deeply pained character, and Walters' exploration of her journey to understand these drowning attacks is at moments hard to read but oh so worth it.

209. STAY by Daniel Jose Older, from Fireside Fiction #22.   Hospital security guard Ramon is watched over by the spirit of a long dead aunt as he navigates his relationship with an ER doctor named Marina. Since this is a hospital story, the action revolves around the arrival of several burn victims from a tenement fire, and how dealing with the trauma in the moment affects Ramon's budding relationship. The narrator (the ghost of the long-dead aunt) leaves quite a bit unsaid, leaving the reader to infer the larger supernatural world surrounding Ramon from comments. The narrator's voice does convey the emotional and medical details necessary to make the story tense and involving.

210. TRANSLATIO CORPORIS by Kat Howard, from Uncanny Magazine #3.   Lena's imagination builds a city over the course of her early life, and her friend Catherine sometimes sees it. But the city takes on a life of its own and needs parts of Lena to continue to grow and survive. The question is, where does the woman end and the othewordly city start?  Howard takes the standard question ("where does the author end and the story begin?") and gives it a fantastic twist with this piece. I was emotionally invested right from the start, and the parasitic relationship between the city and Lena felt oh-so-recognizable.

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