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2013 Stories 43-45

Fell slightly behind again, so here's three to bring us up to date (February 14th is the 45th day of the year). A little bit of a mixed bag:

43. LOST AND FOUND by Michelle Moklebust, available on Smashwords.   There's a lot of world-building going on in this simple Christmas Eve Post Apocalypse story of life in an underground bunker. Fans of vampires, and especially vampires post-apocalypse, will enjoy this. Moklebust paints a strong picture of the state of the world (and just how much of it was destroyed) and even hints about how it ended up the way it did. She also introduces some strong interpersonal relationships. If there's any downside to the story, it's that there are an awful lot of names to keep track of, some of whom are part of the necessary back-story exposition but who don't physically show up in the main story. Still, I'm intrigued to see what Moklebust will do with this world (there are clearly more stories on the way).

44. ENEMY OF MY ENEMY by Suzan Butler, from the anthology Spells and Swashbucklers from Dragon Moon Press. Okay, I admit, I'm a sucker for a good "Flying Dutchman" type story. This story put me a bit in mind of Rachel Caine's stories from My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding and My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon. A nice simple tale of a pirate crew that gets on the wrong side of a witch, and then decades of haunted sailing later, gets caught in the crosshairs of a witches feud. Butler develops three strong characters in the Pirate Captain, his female first mate, and the witch who cursed them. I enjoyed the story and felt it wrapped up neatly while still hoping I'll see these characters again.

45. THE ZEN THING by Emma Duffy-Comparone, the February 17, 2013 issue of One Story magazine.  I recently submitted a story to a fellow author for critique, and her (fair and accurate) response was that she was bored because nothing really happens. I'm wondering if I should submit the story to One Story to see what they think, because I felt much the same with this story. There's a lot of character-building, and there's a lot of interpersonal relationships on display, but ultimately ... nothing really happens to any of the characters except that they prove how normal (and thus, not necessarily very nice) they all are. When something does start to happen, the story ends on an ambiguous note that might be black humor or might just be bleak. I'm still not sure which.

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