Tag Archives: fantasy

Recommended Short Fiction: THE FALLING by M V Melcer & TIL HUMAN VOICES WAKE US by Jennifer Hudak


These two stories both center on difficult choices that can’t be undone.

THE FALLING by M V Melcer is a science-fiction tale about a girl living on ringed spaceship where people live on specific numbered rings depending on their usefulness and capability. This story documents her life as she discovers her passion, her calling, and the impossible decisions that come with all that she attains. Incredibly emotional and exceptionally beautiful even in its darkest moments. Published in Clarkesworld.

TIL HUMAN VOICES WAKE US by Jennifer Hudak is a lighter tale, about a girl who lives near the shore who discovers a secret about her own mother and grandmother. There is another difficult decision at play in this story, but one that leaves the reader with only minor heartache and a warm hug that will leave you smiling. Published in Mermaids Monthly.


Recommended Short Fiction: A GUIDE FOR WORKING BREEDS by Vina Jie-Min Prased & HOW TO SAFELY ENGAGE IN TELEPATHY WITH THE DOLPHINS OF OCEAN PARADISE by Elizabeth Cobbe


Two humorous stories told in experimental ways, both dealing with themes on freedom.

A GUIDE FOR WORKING BREEDS by Vina Jie-Min Prased is a delightful story told in DM/Text/Notification bits between a couple of robots, one having to mentor the other. There are dogs and killings and love and…you just really need to read it and smile along. Published in Made to Order Anthology and republished on Tor.com.

HOW TO SAFELY ENGAGE IN TELEPATHY WITH THE DOLPHINS OF OCEAN PARADISE by Elizabeth Cobbe is a serious tale camouflaged as humor. Told in a list/rule format style, this story takes you through the necessary precautions if you want to swim with the dolphins who can telepathically communicate with you. Only, there are asterisks and reasons for all these rules that you’ll come to realize. Published in Zooscape Zine.


Recommended Book: THE BONEMAKER by Sarah Beth Durst


THE BONEMAKER
by Sarah Beth Durst

Set in a world where bone magic is prevalent, The Bonemaker is the tale of a group of retired heroes who are once again called to save their homes. When the evil they once vanquished, or thought they’d vanquished, seems to have risen again, they start to gather, feeling responsible for saving their people as they’d done in their youth.

But they’re not at all the heroes they once were. One has started a family. Another has gone insane. One isn’t even alive anymore. And this time around, they don’t seem to be wanted to save the world, their very attempts to convince others of the danger failing in the shadow of this new threat.

This is a novel about being a hero at any age. It’s about second chances, about being true to ourselves, and about the power people have when they trust one another and appreciate their own differences.

The Bonemaker, despite its bone magic and necromancy and skeletons, is not written in a dark fantasy fashion. It has an upbeat sense to it that soothes over the deathly consequences of the rising evil. The action scenes are exciting without feeling grimdark, the conflicts and setting are wondrous and worrisome without being dire.

Durst creates an amazing world here, one with different layers of bone magic–constructs and talismans, prophecy and power–and monstrous creatures with giant bones. It’s a world you’ll enjoy traveling inside, with a great deal of potential within to imagine just how wide and intricate a place with this kind of magic can be.

I recommend The Bonemaker for anyone who likes action adventure fantasy with inventive worlds and satisfying endings. Anyone who likes found families who reconnect. This novel is like being hugged warmly with the reminder that evil can be vanquished, regardless the shape or size of that evil.


Recommended Short Fiction: KALEIDOSCOPE by Silvia Moreno-Garcia & SANDRINE by Alexandra Munch


These two stories both revolve around relationships. In each, there is a sense of orbiting, characters close, but potentially never close enough. They are lovely in their own distinct ways.

KALEIDOSCOPE by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a stylized story dealing with characters whose lives touch in different ways in many iterations and time-lines. There’s so much emotion packed tightly into this piece, with its cluster of color that sweeps past quickly, just like you’re watching their lives through a spinning kaleidoscope. Absolutely wonderful. Published in Constelación.

SANDRINE by Alexandra Munch is the tale of the relationship Nicole has with a sun god, who has literal planets revolving around her, including the sand-strewn and lovely Sandrine. There’s a push and pull here, dealing with hidden stress and beautiful visages. Published in Strange Horizons.


Recommended Book: THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate


THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN
Katherine Applegate

Some middle grade stories are the sort that just grab you and turn you inside out, all the feelings layered deeply within every page. The One and Only Ivan is one such story, with a depth of emotion that catches you, yet mitigated with a humor in the very words that inspire those heart-felt responses.

Ivan is a gorilla on display at a small carnival off a main route. He lives there in his domain alongside an older elephant named Stella, a scrappy dog dubbed Bob and a ton of other small animals. He has also made friends with the little girl who comes and sits by his enclosure each night while her father cleans. He is content, or at least numb, to his life. But all that changes when baby elephant Ruby is brought in to replace Stella.

Armed with a promise to Stella that he will change Ruby’s lot in life, Ivan sets about putting his artistic talents to use in order to communicate with his human friends. But he’s just a gorilla. A gorilla who has been in this cage for so long, his memories of a time before shuttered away, leaving him wondering if he’ll ever be capable of fulfilling his promise, of ever seeing anything but the inside of the cage that has been his domain for so long.

This one is easy to read, with laugh-out-loud commentary from Ivan (and Bob!) that breaks up the serious issues of captivity and animal abuse, leaving this book sweet and wonderful rather than heavy. Highly recommend for all ages, but in particular for artists, because there are many touchstones for young artists (and old!) that will bolster anyone creative.