Continuing my plan to read more short fiction in 2016, I’d like to discuss today the notable stories I read that were published in the month of March. These all come from the Science Fiction & Fantasy magazine or free sources of fiction online. For stories that are available for free, I will provide a link to make it easier to find them.
Recalled to Service by Alter S. Reiss (Novelette): A necromancer and revolutionary searches for the hero that she resurrected and lost. I would love to read more fiction set in this world, and I liked its unusual take on necromancy. It seemed to me that a lot of the story was about the balance between loyalty and coercion, and the importance of choice.
A Mother’s Arms by Sarina Dorie (Novelette): An alien mother loses her children, but her generosity of spirit leads her to take in an injured, crash-landed human as her new child. The story is told from the point of view of the tentacled alien, which I thought was nicely done. It was a story that was at times sad, funny, and sweet.
Sparks Fly by Rich Larson (Short Story): Arthur has a supernatural disability that causes him to unintentionally fry nearby electronics, which is something that’s hard to reveal on a first date. This brief, happy story seems to be about the anxieties and potential pitfalls of dating with an invisible disability.
Red in Tooth and Cog by Cat Rambo (Novelette): Discarded, self-repairing appliances live in an urban park, where they have developed an unusual ecosystem. A woman happens across this little hidden world, and must decide whether it is worth preserving. I loved the detail that went into developing the society of the small machines, even though I don’t think it’s particularly plausible.
The Liar by John P. Murphy (Novella): This one is a small town ghost story, featuring a man who has the unusual ability of affecting reality through lying. When the main character notices a pattern in local deaths, he sets out to find the origin and stop it. I liked the small town setting, and the hesitant courtship between the main character and the local pastor, Julie. It was also interesting to see the limits to his lying ability, and to see how he could use it to help others.