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2013 Stories 15 - 18

And here's another catch-up post.

15. THOU ART GOD by Tim Waggoner from Dark Faith Invocations.  Waggoner takes the concept of a normal person having an epiphany and "becoming one with the Godhead" and gives it a turn filled with melancholy and loneliness and just a bit of head-in-the-sand denial. The main character's epiphany comes from a singularly mundane event (looking out the window at just the right moment) that moves him to take action when most people would just turn and look the other way; Waggoner takes the human and makes it universal. The turn the story takes felt not just internally-consistent but actually plausible.


16. WISHFLOWERS by Tim Pratt from Dark Faith Invocations.  Another Tim who turns a classic story convention on its head in order to explore the meaning of faith (which is, after all, what this anthology is all about). We all know the classic fantasy hero quest story: young man hears of legendary tool that can right the world's wrongs (or his perception of what's wrong) and goes in search of it. Pratt drops us, effectively, in at the end of the man's quest, and uses the story to show us that a) the main character isn't exactly as pristine/heroic as he first comes across and b) just because he's not reliable doesn't mean he's wrong. I like the concept of a positive outcome from negative intentions.


17. COIN DROP by Richard Dansky from Dark Faith Invocations.  How can you go wrong with a story about a vending machine which gives everyone in the company exactly what they want -- everything from high-end chocolate to Japanese schoolgirl panties -- and in which everyone sees something different? Coin Drop is one of the funnier stories in the book because Dansky realizes how whimsical his basic premise is. Lots of authors would go to the darkest place possible with a story like this, and Dansky skirts the edges expertly, providing an ending that confirms Free Will with a knowing wink.


18. STARTER KIT by R.J. Sullivan from Dark Faith Invocations. We all had Sea Monkey kits when we were kids, right? Sullivan takes that common experience and wraps it in a simple science fiction setting. We don't get to know anything about the futuristic / alien society in which the story takes place, and we don't need to because they are essentially us. Only instead of sea monkeys, the kid in the story has a fish-tank "starter universe" kit. Worlds will live, worlds will die, and if the budding civilizations destroy themselves, well ... we can always flush it and start over, right? It's a cute story, capably told

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