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2015 Stories 250 - 253

This next batch of stories are from a variety of sources:

250. PROPERTIES & PERMISSIONS by E. Catherine Tobler, from Daily SF for October 1, 2015. This is a “list and addenda” style piece of flash fiction. The author leaves more unsaid than explicated, opening a bunch of questions by the nature of the lists, giving several possible answers through the addenda, and leaving it up to the reader to decide which scenario actually played out. Really effective use of the form to tell a story without “telling” a story. Highly recommend it. Short and packs a punch.

251. SOPHIE’S LEGACY by Barbara Krasnoff, from Mythic Delirium’s Sept online issue. Rachel is pulled from her high school chess club unceremoniously (and despite complaint) by her mother and aunt, to take part in a lake-side ritual. “Seeings” are a part of family history that Rachel has been denied access to until now, when she gets to view a long dead great-grandmother and learn a bit more about her family. Krasnoff delivers us a sweet, quiet, moving story about the mother-daughter-aunt relationship triangle, the past-present connection, and family stories versus family fact.

252. RASCAL SATURDAY by Richard Bowes, from the Sept/October 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.   Set in The Big Arena, Bowes’ near-future New York City from two previous stories published this year. Janina Dineen visits The Big Arena to view a gallery show of work by The Illustrationists (which includes an artist named Anthony Cardno); The Illustrationists work at first looks like the work of the Hudson Valley naturalist movement, until one looks closely and can make out present day NYC architecture in paintings done long before those structures were built. The set up raises a long of questions: how did the Illustrationists manage this feat? What is Janina’s connection to the art, and to a mysterious place called Naxos? What is the secret project Janina’s paraplegic girlfriend is working on with the group called Beyond Borders? Bowes plays with near future tech, religion, “manifest destiny,” family tradition, corrupting power, homelessness, the idle rich, and the disenfranchised poor in a novella that is ultimately about a woman who just wants to make things better for those less fortunate than herself, at whatever cost.

253. THE BONE WAR by Elizabeth Bear, from the Sept/Oct 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.   Bijou the Artificer is hired by the Academy to reconstruct a dinosaur using her particular form of magic that binds precious metals and gems to existing bone, recreating the deceased. Professional politics among the teaching staff threaten to derail her project at every step. I loved the dynamic between the three female main characters: Bijou, Doctor Munquidh and Doctor Agar. This story definitely passes the Bechdel test. The story is so much about the human impulse to make things exactly as we want them (from the way colleges run to the way we interpret and assign habits to creatures that were extinct before we came along). The nature of Bigou’s magic (especially how not-immediate it is) intrigued me, as does the history of the setting; I want to find and read the other stories Bear has set in this world featuring Bijou.

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