Saturday, February 27, 2010 By: Suzanne

Short Story Challenge - February Recap


If you missed signing up for the Short Story Challenge, it's not too late.  Each month I will post a recap to discuss what everyone has read for the challenge. Everyone who still wants to sign up go back to original post to sign up (which I will leave a link to in every current post). Then leave comments in the current post.

Again, I have just read the bare minimum, as I am still re-reading my way through the WOT series. I'm on book five, so it won't be too much longer and then I can read something new! And that includes more short stories. Hope everyone else is doing well on their challenges!

This month I read the February 2010 edition of Realms of Fantasy. I have never read this magazine before and will most likely not again unless a specific story in it look interesting. There's too much other junk in it I'm simply not interested in, like game reviews. Boring! At least I think so. But the stories themselves were pretty good.

How Interesting: A Tiny Man by Harlan Ellison is an interesting take on human nature and what is a natural life. The story starts like this: "I created a tiny man. It took me a long time. But I did, finally: he was five inches tall. Tiny; he was very tiny. And creating him, the creating of him, it seemed an awfully good idea at the time."

I like this not only because of the implications of creating a tiny man but because of the humor with which the story was told: "There were threats. Some of them curiously misspelled - its, rather than it's - and suchlike." or there is also: "And so, I have a car, I use raw sugar instead of aspartame, my pants do not sag around my shoetops, and I drive a perfectly utilitarian car. The make and year do not matter for this disquisition."

Mister Oak by Leah Bobet wanted to be something more than what it was. It wanted to be a look at human nature through the eyes of plants but it took the metaphor too far and left me just feeling wanting.

The Demon of Hochgarten by Euan Harvey was beautifully told and was a complete story in it's own right. It does not need to be expanded into a full length novel to make sense or feel complete. I think that's a very important part of being a "short story." Also, I very much enjoyed the new aspect of the classic werewolf tale.

Melanie by Aliette de Bodard was also a very well written story and a good commentary on human nature and our fears, though I believe the story she did for Asimov's was much better.

My favorite story in this collection is The Unknown God by Ann Leckie. I love the irreverent way in which she tells the tale of a god who regrets his hasty actions. I will leave you with a bit of this story in which one god, Aworo, is contemplating another, Smerdis:

Aworo had heard of devotees who, laying a hand on the bull as it passed, had been granted inner peace and enlightenment. "There's a procession..."
"Every month. They'd like to do it more often, of course, but they can't get the permit. Can't have gods parading around the city whenever they like, we'd never get anything done!"

Happy Reading!


Carl V. said...

I managed 4 more short story collections/anthologies over the month of February. Doing this challenge has certainly made me more cognizant of mixing in these collections and I do believe I have read more this year thus far (7 total) than in any one total year before now. Here is the link to my February Wrap Up:

Veggiemomof2 said...

Duo by Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini

Anonymous said...

Just posted mine for that frst three months. I'm a procrastinator :)