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
RACE THE SANDS
Sarah Beth Durst
Monster racing! Within the first few words of this novel, you get introduced to an epic sport in this desert fantasy world, one that is both dangerous and hopeful. Our protagonists include Tamra (named after Tamora Pierce) and Raia—the former is a trainer and the latter becomes her trainee. Both of their futures are inexplicably twined as they they not only train together in order to set each of their futures right, but also struggle against governmental forces that are in flux behind the scenes.
Having both older and younger women in the lead seats of the story opens up the audience widely to encompass separate generations, each with a relatable conflict. Along with these two women, there is a third point-of-view character—a man who is striving to find the beast their most beloved and now recently passed-on ruler has been reborn as. His search takes him to the least likely creatures—the monsters (called kehoks) themselves.
This story is for those who want to read about second chances, about paving your own way, about fighting against rules that only exist for rules’ sake. I especially recommend this for those who love immersive secondary-worlds, with imaginative magics and creatures, that you might envision yourself right there with the characters riding your very own kehok.
Both of these stories were published this January 2021. They are written in completely different styles, both delightful in their own way, and deal with complicated situations or experiences that must be overcome.
SECRETS OF THE KATH by Fatima Taqvi depicts a play with moving, moving parts that reflect reality. There’s ignorance and there’s silence and one is not an excuse for the other. A beautifully written story with depth of meaning about a character faced with the costs associated with her way of life. Published in Strange Horizons.
THINGS TO BRING, THINGS TO BURN, THINGS BEST LEFT BEHIND by C. E. McGill is about Oz, a man chosen by his town to be the one sacrificed to the mountain. This is his journey, both literal and metaphorical, about climbing that mountain in order to provide the blessings his town requires to survive. This is a tale about the weights we carry and those we overcome. Published in Fantasy Magazine.
During the course of the workshop each of us had to meet with Jeanne three times throughout the six weeks. Once during each two-week span to talk about our weaknesses, strengths, goals, & progress, etc. I ended up having five meetings with her.
[It’s been a few months at this point, so hopefully my memory is correct. If it’s not, then it’s pretty close and the only issues might be exactly which meeting encompassed which discussion.]
Because of the way the submission schedule had been set up, my first submission wasn’t until almost the end of the second week of the workshop. I had a future submission schedule of four submissions due all within an 11 day time frame though, so I knew I had to be working on new stories during that first two weeks. Because I wanted to actually progress, I requested a short meeting with Jeanne earlier on so I might get a little idea on where I could focus on my current WIPS. Continue reading
Posted in Odyssey Workshop
Tagged character, fantasy, fiction, flash, plot, private meeting, progress, reading, sci-fi, science-fiction, short story, voice, workshop, writing
THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY
This novel took me for an emotional ride. The lead character, Nora, is a thirty-five year old woman who, at the start of this novel, is in a pit of despair and depression, believing that she’s a failure, that she’s unaccomplished, that she’s missed out on chance after chance in her life. This is a novel about regrets, about how we hold on to them, how we envision these other lives as perfect bubbles that we might have had if we’d only chosen the right decision at certain crossroads in our lives.
This is the exact chance Nora receives once she arrives at the midnight library. She is allowed to try out all the lives she might have had and, ultimately, pick the one she wishes to live, the one she feels she should have had all along, to keep forever.
Beautifully written, this novel is especially for anyone feeling similarly to Nora, feeling as if you’ve missed out on who you could have been or what you could have accomplished. It’s for anyone who would love that sense of trying on all those other countless parallel yous that might have existed.