Both stories this week are on the longer side, the two of them taking the time to deal with resistance against tyranny.
MY LOVE OUR LADY SLAUGHTER by Christine Lucas takes place on Mars, in a setting that feels science-fantasy, where certain people have the capability of inter-body telekinesis and are set apart, healing wounded without regard to which side of a war they fight. When found, they are forced to take a stand to protect their own morals and each other. Published in Strange Horizons 2020.
GIRLS WITH NEEDLES AND FROST by Jenny Rae Rappaport is a tale about seamstresses who slowly, slowly build a revolution against their oppressors. What I love about this story is that it acknowledges the humanity in the oppressors while maintaining the need for the oppressed to rise up. There’s also something metaphorically wonderful about the summoning of a dragon that can represent the congregation of the people finally being able to stand together. Published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies 2020.
It’s hard to squeeze everything into these posts. It really is. I scarcely went a day where I didn’t get on Zoom or upload a critique. So these are just a few additional things that didn’t warrant getting an entire blog post to themselves but I thought might be nice to mention:
Before Odyssey began, all of us got our own specialized box of snacks to tide us over through lectures and Q&A sessions. Brain food for our writing times. One of the snacks I got was a bag of lollipops that I kept over in my office because they wouldn’t require me to brush anything off my braces, so that was greatly appreciated.
During Odyssey, I also received a bookmark as a reward for completing the entire first week’s journal entries. That, uh, never happened again. My journal entries became last on my list often and I’d scrape by with three completed a week. I also noticed that the journal entries that I’d gravitate toward were the ones I really enjoyed doing and, consequently, probably the ones I needed to do the least.
We would have weekly check-ins with our resident Odyssey supervisor, Amy Katherine Black (or A.Kat Black). These were random small groups of us and we would sometimes chat for 5 minutes, sometimes for 20. They were meant to be a way for us to get to know one another better despite not being physically at St. Anselm’s, but many of us would have loved more opportunities to have small conversations among just each other.
At the tail end of Odyssey, we crafted a Slack group just for our year’s graduates, where we can chat, remind each other to accomplish our goals, to motivate one another. It’s been a pleasant experience, getting to keep in touch with everyone and I’m incredibly glad for it.
<3 Marie C.
Posted in Odyssey Workshop
Tagged crit, critique, family, fantasy, fiction, flash, novel, reading, reward, sci-fi, science-fiction, short story, workshop, writing
THE LAST SMILE IN SUNDER CITY
Want a little noir in your urban fantasy detective fiction? How about a lack of magic in your fantasy? In Sunder City, we have a bleak protagonist by the name of Fetch who doesn’t work for humans and, quite frankly, isn’t the best at taking care of himself either. But some of that is to be expected given his history and the recent destruction of all magic. Creatures and races that had once flourished have now become frail echoes of what they’d once been. The world has been upset in an awful fashion and Fetch is just doing what he can to help, even when nursing hangovers.
This novel is told in a present timeline with Fetch being hired to investigate a disappearance. As he goes about his investigation, the reader is treated to snippets of his history, of the world Fetch had lived in before the magic had been erased from existence. There’s a real loss of hope in this novel, a sinking feeling that permeates you as you read, a sense that no matter what Fetch does, it won’t make much difference, not to the people who need it most.
And yet, this isn’t a hopeless story, because Fetch is still going, still moving forward in the only way he knows how. And the rest of Sunder City is doing the same, some more successfully than others. You discover the answer to a couple mysteries by the end of this novel. You also get a beautiful sense that things can get better, that no matter how bad the world is, there are always ways to change the narrative, change the scene and move forward.
Posted in Recommendation
Tagged adventure fantasy, book, detective, fantasy, fiction, luke arnold, noir, novel, prose, reading, urban fantasy
Today’s two story recommendations both deal with characters struggling against their bleak natures. They end in vastly different ways, a comparison of the directions one can take and the costs either paid or resisted.
MR. DEATH by Alix E. Harrow is a story about a reaper who has been recently appointed the position. Still learning his purpose and the reasons and whys of death, he is faced with a representation of a situation that occurred when he’d still been alive that puts him in a position of torment, questioning his very self. Published in Apex Magazine 2021.
A LIFE MEASURED IN MOONS by Alexandra Hill is a mysterious tale set in an historical time when a myth roams the woods. As people go missing and tensions are high, two siblings struggle against the hand the world has dealt them, unsure of their choices. Published in Writer’s Digest 2020.
Posted in Recommendation
Tagged alexandra hill, alix e harrow, apex, fantasy, fiction, prose, reading, science-fiction, short reads, short story, writers digest
This story, man.
See, I grew up in a bayside community in Maryland. A little bay. Not the big Chesapeake. But even little bays feel huge when you’re little yourself.
We’d throw crab cages off the end of the dock and see bobbing milk jugs along the edges of the bay that marked where others had done the same. Old Bay is a staple where I’m from, practically an appetizer. Blue crabs adorn art pieces, sports team jerseys, and fill plenty of bellies, some people using crabbing to offset grocery costs.
Thing is though, I’m not a fan of crab. Not a fan of Old Bay, and the joke that I’m not Marylander enough to be a Marylander occurred more than a few times in my youth. I would crack crab legs open for my younger siblings, but I would never eat it myself.
So I thought, why not use that difference in me, play with the crabs who aren’t too fond of this fondness that Marylanders have for them.
I set this story in a bayside community, with a young girl investigating strange occurrences, partially to tap into my own history, partially to capture that sense of feeling off in one’s own skin, in one’s own home.
And then things turned creepy quite quickly.
You can find this issue with my story, “How Many Crab Pots Does it Take to Destroy a Neighborhood?, on Amazon or on Perpetual Motion Publishing’s site.