Both these two stories deal with parental relationships with their daughters when those relationships are bent and twisted.
My Mother’s Hand by Dante Luiz is about a sailor whose mother possesses her arm. That is probably enough of an intrigue to go read this story, but it gets better, for the tale revolves around identity and the power and pain wielded by those who believe they should have say in their children’s identities. Published in Constelación.
Ask the Fireflies by R. P. Sand is about an AI who loves and cares for a little girl, and above all else strives to protect her, from her parents, from her doctors, and from her own dark thoughts. Absolutely enthralling, this story deals quite viscerally with the question of what a life is, regardless whether it’s visible to others. Published in Clarkesworld.
I’ve been wanting to do recommended short fiction for a while, and now, after two years of keeping track of almost everything I’ve been reading, I’m finally getting down to the business of sharing short stories I’ve absolutely loved in the hopes that you’ll give them a read too.
The first two of the year I’d like to talk about are both from Constelación’s sample issue #0.5, a taste of things to come for this new magazine. Both were exemplary.
MAKEISHA IN TIME by Rachael K. Jones is a tale about a girl who lives countless lives across history. She is swept back in time at random moments, only to be returned in the exact same place and moment from when and where she’d disappeared. It’s a tale about historical erasure, about choosing what lives we wish to live.
I, CROCODILE by Jacinta Escudos is another powerful tale about a girl who can transform into a crocodile in the river. It deals with forced genital mutilation and the adults who propagate the ideas behind it. But especially, it deals with the fury of the ones who resist.
It’s been a great many years since I’ve attended a con and though I’ve been looking at Balticon off and on over those years, I finally throttled my social anxiety enough to attend on my own. Promised myself I didn’t need to speak to a single soul, that I could just go, attend panels and presentations, look at fantasy and science fiction art, and flit around the dealer rooms, in order to give myself a bit of confidence for next time around.
Now the con is over and my heart has found a regular rhythm again, I’m incredibly proud of myself, for I did go a little beyond my expectations in terms of actually opening my mouth without my throat choking off words. Even got to chat with Tom Doyle, one of the other Writers of the Future winners from my year.
I didn’t take a lot of photos at the con itself, but I did when I headed across the street into the harbor to take a tour of the Constellation. The harbor itself was packed, but on board the ship was generally quiet.
While there, I snapped a photo, albeit a poor quality one (old, old phone), of the barrels in the bowels of the ship. This was incredibly cool to see firsthand because the distillery that ages these casks on board happens to be local to me, as in just down the street. In fact, they’re building a tasting room right now that I pass any time I go north. I’ve seen plenty of photos of the process of lowering and removing the barrels, but had never gone up to see for myself, so Balticon gave me a great excuse to check them out!
I didn’t remain the whole weekend-left Sunday evening at about seven so I could spend memorial Day with my family. However, the last panel I attended, Tales from the Slush Pile, I did snap my first, last, and only picture from inside the hotel. (I’ll get better at that) The panelists acted out a skit from a submission in a hilarious spontaneous theater performance that had the whole room in hysterics.