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2015 Stories 235 - 237

More catching up, this batch from various issues of Uncanny magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damien Thomas.


235. THE HEAT OF US: NOTES TOWARD AN ORAL HISTORY by Sam J. Miller.  I'll just say it: I've yet to read a Sam Miller story I haven't at least enjoyed if not been forced into deeper thought by. There are lots of stories out there about how history might have been different with the advent of advanced technologies, super-human abilities or supernatural elements. Miller keeps that aspect subtle here, but it's still a supporting theme: how might have the Stonewall Riots played out if the gay and trans* folk present had not only stood their ground, but stood it with the sudden group psionic ability to make people burst into flames? Immolation, self or not, makes a strong statement. Miller tells the story through interview quotes with several of those present: a dancer, an off-duty (and closeted) NYC cop, a bookstore owner, a police chief, a reporter. It all comes together, these disparate points of view creating a much larger picture than any single POV might have done.

236. ANYONE WITH A CARE FOR THEIR IMAGE by Richard Bowes.  Bowes is slowly building a series of stories in his near-future NYC called The Big Arena. (The first appeared on Tor.com, the third in the most recent issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. My thoughts on the Tor story are here, and the F&SF story upcoming.)  This is a short, tightly-told entry, almost flash-fiction. In the Big Arena, for bloggers online image and website hits are everything, more important than their own physical safety when a riot breaks out in the city. Perhaps because it's so short, I felt it was a bit difficult to become fully immersed in the story, but worth the effort: the world-building alone is wonderful, done through dialogue rather than heavy exposition.

237. MIDNIGHT HOUR by Mary Robinette Kowal.  A queen cursed to be nameless and her king, cursed to be a fool 23 hours per day, must navigate the challenges to their rule because surviving the curses means saving their land from blight. But of course, as in any good fairy tale, outside forces conspire against them.  Kowal sets up the curses and the current political thorny problem so well in the opening pages that the rest of the story feels both inevitable and unpredictable.

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