Tag Archives: short story club

Short Story Club in review

Now that the Short Story club is over, I’d like to thank them all for letting me play. This may seem like a weird comparison, but about halfway through reading these stories started to remind me of Better Investing‘s monthly Stock To Study. When they pick a stock of interest, that doesn’t make it a recommendation to buy it, just that there is something worth studying about the company. Similarly, I stopped expecting that I would like these stories, but instead find something worth studying about them.

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Re: Throwing Stones

Set in a Chinese-influenced fantasy world, “Throwing Stones,” by Mishell Baker is a slippery story about people with slippery shapes. An unnamed narrator is a man living as a woman in a “teahouse” in the city of Jiun-shi. He/she meets a Tuo, a “goblin” posing as a human being, making a living as a poet. The narrator wants to become a Seeress, and is earning enough money to pay for the entrance exam. He/she will worry later about whether they’ll let a man take the exam.

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Re: Stereogram of the Gray Fort, in the Days of Her Glory

Usually a cool idea alone doesn’t do it for me. Sometimes I’m content with a story that encourages me to explore a cool idea. But what I really want with a cool idea is an awesome story. Like  “Stereogram of the Gray Fort, in the Days of Her Glory,” by Paul M. Berger. It’s the sort of story I was hoping to find when I decided to join the Short Story Club at Torque Control.

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Re: The Heart of A Mouse

I guess the Halloween monster story for the Torque Control short story club must be “The Heart of A Mouse,” by K.J. Bishop. The beginning introduces us to a depressing post-apocalypse landscape with literal fallen angels rotting on the ground. And the narrator is a modified mouse.

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Re: My Father’s Singularity

For this week, Torque Control short story club refrains from giving us a monster story for Halloween, instead suggesting you read the relatively sentimental “My Father’s Singularity,” by Brenda Cooper.

Paul’s father is always telling him that he will live to see the Singularity and become something his father can’t understand. When Paul goes to the city for an education and a job to support his father and the family farm, we watch him grow up and his father age. We also see technology continue to change the world, so seamlessly that Paul seems to take it all for granted.

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Re: The Cage

About the worst thing I can say about  “The Cage,” by A.M. Dellamonica, is that the beginning gave me totally the wrong impression. On my first read, I bounced off the weight given to a story about the bloody murder one Pamela Adolpha, werewolf. I thought this going to be a gory story about werewolves. It’s not.

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Re: No Time Like the Present

In  “No Time Like the Present,” by Carol Emshwiller, a group of strangers come to a small town or suburb in Washington or Oregon. Everything seems so quotidian, I had time to wonder how this story would be received in a non-SF setting. To an SF reader, the strangers are obviously time travelers. At first, the main thing that sticks out is that they’re all tall and blond. Are they Viking time-travelers? We never find out who they are or why they came. When you realize that they seem to come from a not so distant future, their uniformity is even more creepy.

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Re: Miguel and the Viatura

I avoid reading headnotes to stories. I don’t mind when they tell me about the author. I appreciate the warning if it’s the twelfth installment of a long-running series. But I hate it when they say anything about the story. They either say too much and drop a spoiler, or they tell me something that prejudices me against it. Like saying there’s vampires. So when I failed to avoid the headnote for “Miguel and the Viatura” by Eric Gregory, and read that the story has a new take on the urban vampire, I had a sinking feeling.

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Re: The Red Bride

From the opening line of “The Red Bride,” by Samantha Henderson, there is a lot you imagine that turns out to be different in truth.

You are to imagine, Twigling, the Red Bride to be a human, such as yourself, although she is in truth a creature of the Var.

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Re: The Second Journey of the Magus

Just so you know where I’m coming from, I like talking about gods, but I get tired of hearing about the Christian variant. Which means I thought “The Second Journey of the Magus,” by Ian MacLeod treads familiar ground.

We meet the Magi Balthasar on the road. He’s an atheist now and fears being executed for heresy when he returns to Persia. He thinks back to his dead companions, Melchior and Gaspar. He thinks how strange it was for a god to manifest himself that way. He thinks — I don’t care. It’s a Christmas story. If this hadn’t been Installment Five in this year’s Torque Control short story club, I wouldn’t have tried again. But the other stories have been worthwhile, so I plodded along with Balthasar. Then it became an Easter story, no it’s an Apocalypse story. That was weird enough to get me interested. Balthasar’s journey turns out to be vivid and thought-provoking.

Now I don’t have much more to say about it without discussing the ending, so I must reveal some spoilers.

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