Re: Kiosk

The Secret History of Moscow gave us a glimpse of the kiosks filling the streets. In “Kiosk,” by Bruce Sterling, we see into their hectic world. Borislav runs a little kiosk that’s so sucessful, a woman from the EU buys him out. His customers are heart-broken at the loss of the source of their hair […]

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Re: Children’s Crusade

Remember how I changed my mind about “Titanium Mike Saves The Day” after I got past the first page? Well, the same thing happened with “Children’s Crusade,” by Robin Wayne Bailey, only it went in the opposite direction. A boy, Ari, is kneeling in prayer, ignoring hunger without complaint. Then his uncle Abad gives him […]

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Re: Pride

Some people seem to be strange atttractors. In Pride, by Mary Turzillo, Kevin is enlisted by Animals Our Brethren in an attack on a Frankenlab where they’re cloning dead animals. Never mind the image that rouses of a Contented Cow arising from a revenant hamburger, the ugly duckling cub he rescues somehow manages to survive […]

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Re: Captive Girl

With lovely, musical language, ” Captive Girl,” by Jennifer Pelland opens with a vista of space as seen by a watcher tracking dangers to her home. Then the watcher, Alice, wakes up in her body. She is trammeled in the machinery that makes it possible, her face covered by a heavy mask, her senses replaced […]

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Re: Safeguard

Some topics you need to write about with some restraint, like putting kids into danger to get the reader’s sympathy. Toward the end of “Safeguard,” by Nancy Kress, the story hangs a lantern on what a low device this is, and in general, shows restraint in depicting the children, and letting you feel as you […]

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Re: Titanium Mike

I am noticing that I form my opinion about a story very fast, within the first couple paragraphs, and rarely does the rest of the story change that opinion. Titanium Mike Saves the Day,” by David D. Levine turns out to be one of those rare exceptions. I thought the opening paragraphs were stiff. Worse, […]

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Re: Child, Maiden, Woman, Crone

As a perpetrator of clunky writing (and I’m sure you can find examples in my recent posts), I wondered if there was some joke when I read the first paragraph of “Child, Maiden, Woman, Crone,” by Terry Bramlett. The music filled the valley as Johnny Nobles coerced the strings on his Gibson. He ended the […]

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Re: The Fiddler of Bayou Teche

Come here, cher, and I tell you a story. The opening lines of “The Fiddler of Bayou Teche,” by Delia Sherman establish an intimate narrative voice, so clear you can hear her speaking inside your head. Better yet, read it out loud. Cadence is an albino girl who lives out in the swamp with her […]

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Re: Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter

A xerox machine prints photos of the dead killed by Pol Pot until it drives away the people in the building. Right from the beginning I loved the mix of tradition and technology in the ghost story that opens “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter (Fantasy),” by Geoff Ryman. After that, it says: Then we construct Pol […]

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