My first delight in “Now Open,” came in the opening, as the unnamed narrator meets a goth girl in a mall, selling time in a box. What a neat conceit, I thought. The next came when I realized this was another story by K.J. Kabza. It’s always nice to stumble on more stories by an author you’re getting to like.
Sandra is playing piano at the last piano bar after the end of the world. Radok asks her for an unwelcome encore. As their argument grows heated, we discover steam and big honking rivets in “Sandra Plays For the Cast Iron Man” by Tom Crosshill. There punk also in its heart that longs for music and its scream that deny the burning light of doom Outside.
It’s short, so it’s mostly a vignette, but it paints an intense picture. Very cool.
We just can’t resist bringing the gods down to earth this days. For example, in “Pelos” by Aaron Bilodeau, a goofy young god comes on a little strong to a savvy modern girl. That shower of gold thing just doesn’t work anymore, you know? Times have changed.
Christmas is creeping up on us, like Robot Santa with a knife between his teeth, his sack full of holiday stories to read. When it comes to the whole gift-giving business, I’d say “Christmas, 1914″ pretty much sums up how I feel. It’s all about the kids.
I’m not trying to make a theme of it, but here’s another story about a revenant. In “Don Ysidro,” by Bruce Holland Rogers, the title character is narrating from the other side. I like this line about the proceeding sound to him.
As if I had cotton in my ears, I heard the voice of don Leandro saying to my wife, “Doña Susana, I think it is time to fetch the priest,” and I thought, yes, it’s time.
“How High the Moon,” by Patrick Lundrigan is a charming story in which a couple argue over who is a robot and who programmed whom. It sounds almost like a game they’re playing with each other. But if one of them really is a robot, maybe they’re programmed to say that. Shades of Blade Runner.
Here’s another bit of silliness. “The Dyslexicon,” by Carl Frederick is almost too silly for words. That’s must be why it turns words inside out, mixes them, and shuffles them about. Filled with all sorts of wordplay, from spoonerism to bad puns, the story presents a conversation between a dyslectic robot interview with the Head of DOG, the Dyslexic Geek Organization. Yes, you did read that right. Read on.
Begs to be read out loud.
I still need to take a recess after Readercon, which makes me think of “Just Before Recess“, by James Van Pelt.
Parker kept a sun in his desk.
“As Their Eyes Touched God,” by Robin Gillespie is a great example of the impact a piece of short fiction can have. The story sneaks up on you with a couple sitting on the roof of their apartment building. Something’s going on. As it unfolds, you slowly understand how awful it is and how beautiful.
In “Discerning Women,” by William Highsmith, aliens invade and either they just don’t understand humans or they have a really, really dry sense of humor. The trouble begins when Alexa, newly a subject of the Braxian empire, has to take a machine quiz with questions like:
> Why are Earth women the way they are?
> A) DNA, B) Earth men, C) Spiked heels?