These two are different in tone, yet are similar in character, with both stories revolving around a character with a power that others come seeking.
A GIFT, A WITCH AND A WAKENING OF HONEY by Elou Carroll is a warm, homey story about bees who come seeking help from a witch in order to heal a gray cast that has overwhelmed their colony. Quick and fun, this story could be a pick-me-up and give you a smile, what with the main character’s attitude and the bees’ penchant for gift-giving. Published in Hexagon.
DEAD AT THE FEET OF A GOD by Izzy Wasserstein is far more maudlin in tone, a story told by skipping backward in time to reveal the terrible path that has led the main character to the feet of a god. Yet, the main character also possesses a power, one of foreknowledge that resounds within the style chosen, as you, the reader, have foreknowledge of where the story will end. Published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
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.
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.
The two stories I’m recommending today have to deal with claiming oneself rather than being or doing what others expect of you. This is particularly true of woman in many societies, where we have been taught that our purpose is to serve, to sacrifice. These stories push against that narrative in delightful ways.
CONSOLIDATION by Langley Hyde is a science-fiction tale about an android fit with an adaptive/pleasing personality who is then repurposed in order to help exterminate natives on a planet. This is her tale of discovery, her tale of waking up, of realizing the pressures of her programming that represent so keenly the issues that woman face. Published in Escape Pod.
THE DRAGON MAKER by Amy Clare Fontaine is a shorter piece about a woman who can draw dragons into life who is pushed to begin drawing dragons for others rather than herself. If you’ve ever felt this pressure to use your passions or your skills for other people, whether through work, hobbies, or otherwise, this story will speak to you. Published in Zooscape.
These two stories deal with completely different topics within their underlying themes, but on their surface they are about a person and their relationship with some sort of online persona they’ve crafted.
EVERQUEST by Naomi Kanakia is about a man named Gopal who receives an online multiplayer role-playing game as a present. He crafts a female character, named Gayatri, and begins to fall into that fantasy world more and more. This story is about outward expression, the journey to acceptance of oneself and the cultural and familial pressure that can stall someone on their journey of discovery. Published in Lightspeed Magazine.
A COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT OF [REDACTED]’s VIDEO CHANNEL by Rhiannon Rasmussen is, just as it says, a literal translation of one person’s fumbling attempts to craft their own video channel. The videos—featuring how-tos and cooking recipes—devolve into disturbing territory that becomes almost comical in nature as you
watch read through these disasters. Published in Diabolical Plots.