In a mix of rhymes, assonance, and chants, “A Whispering Voice,” by Elizabeth Creith is a prose poem about what Goldilocks did after she escaped the three bears. The first line dares you to keep reading, especially out loud.
Goldilocks stalks the forest walks in ragged socks, regretting the courage that made her so bold as to pillage the cottage of porridge, too hot or too cold.
Although it fills your head with all sorts of strange sounds, actually reading it out loud is even stranger. In part you want to keep going in the rocky rhythms it establishes, and in part you’re relieved it doesn’t. The story itself plays with “Into The Woods“-style cross-currents with other fairy tales, in particular “The Goose Girl“. And after it’s done playing, that first line keeps sticking in my head.
Goldilocks stalks the forest walks in ragged socks…
Weirdest earworm ever.
Unlike Stross’s “Palimpsest,” I can understand why “Recalculating,” by Tina Connolly uses second person. Like “Directions,” the story is told by a GPS system, giving such directions as:
Show them your spinach and the guard will let you in.
“ISO,” by Derek Zumsteg makes “Faith“‘s jaunt through the personals look even more nostalgic. The narrator is as spam-writer, who takes a commission to ghost-write an ISO ad in the W4M section. And those are the easy acronyms.
I admit it. I need some help with “The Chinese Room,” by Alec Deason. From the first line, it paints a curious scene, full of wonderful details:
It held out its palm for Jason to see. There was a single grain of sand on the worn plastic surface.
“I have many thoughts,” the thing elaborated.
When I spotted “Entropy in 606 Words,” by Derek Zumsteg, my first thought was, It’s the toothbrush guy! Despite the complicated subtitle (“A Fictional Exploration of Current Thinking on Localized Entropic Models and Possible Associated Unexpected Phenomena”), the first line is simple enough:
Tom wake up more dumb. Bonk head on bed.
“The Occupation of the Architect“, by Jason Heller starts off with a conceit that pulled me in:
The buildings pulled themselves out of the ground one morning and decided to speak.