Sunday, September 11, 2016

Short Fiction: July

Time for the July collection of my favorite short fiction.  July was the month of intense travel, so I might not have read as much short fiction as usual.  In fact, all three of my favorites for July are from Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine.

Last One Out by K.B. Rylander (Short Story, Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine): This was a quiet post-pandemic story, in a world where a machine-enforced quarantine left the last remnants of human slowly dying alone. The story is from the point of view of an AI companion that desperately wants to help his person to be happy.  It’s a story about human and personal legacy, and how one can never truly know in advance what they will leave behind.  

Trustworthy Loyal Helpful by Gregor Hartmann (Short Story, Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine): On to a lighter apocalypse, this was a humorous look at how corner-cutting, short-sightedness and pressures for economic success can lead to some very bad science.  The tendencies it highlights are a serious problem in reality, but it made for a really funny story.

The Vanishing Kind by Lavie Tidhar (Novella, Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine): This one is an alternate history post-WWII novella, where Germany was triumphant*. The story itself was a mystery, and the only speculative element is the alt history setting.  A German man goes to occupied London to answer a call for help from a former girlfriend. When he arrives, she is missing and he feels compelled to search for her.  I thought the plot was pleasantly twisty, though the world was extremely grim.

* That seems to be a popular alt history, and it occurred to me while reading that I don’t think I’ve ever read a WWII alt history that goes the other way.  I mean, what about an alternate history where the Allied forces found some way to put an end to the war quickly, and millions of innocent lives were saved?  This would also have interesting implications for the future.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Long Road to the Airport

Things have been pretty hectic since that peaceful break in Monaco, but we’re now finally settled in Michigan!  Now that we and all our stuff has made it here more or less intact, I can tell the second half of the moving story.

After Monaco, the next destination was to attend the wedding of two friends in the countryside near Arles.  We had a Twingo and the wide open roads of Provence ahead of us.  We left Monaco the morning after Bastille Day, and it was during the drive--actually while we were driving through Nice--that we heard the terrible news.  None of our friends or family were harmed, but we still grieve with the people of Nice.  I can only hope that someday we will live in a world without such evil in it.

Moving on to lighter subjects, I had never seen much of southern France, since a certain spouse of mine never seemed to think it was a good time to explore it.  Therefore, we decided to see as much as we could along the way.  

View from the hotel, Marseilles.

We walked by the sea on the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes. We spent the night on the coast in Marseilles.  We wandered through the Pope’s Palace and sang at the Pont d’Avignon.  

Then, we got lost, arrived at the hotel less than an hour before the ceremony, and somehow managed to make it to the castle both on-time and presentable.  It was a beautiful wedding, and I hope they have a future full of happiness together!

Afterward, it only remained to return to Nice for the flight out.  On the way…

Romans put these things everywhere!

We explored the Roman tunnels beneath Arles, circled the Roman amphitheatre, and checked out an intact Roman barge at the history museum. We also tried really hard to find some lavender fields, and failed completely.  Where are they hidden?  I thought they covered all of Provence? Maybe someday, we’ll try again…

The transcontinental flight took us to New York City, and my next update will cover the United States portion of the journey!

I'll pause here with yet another city skyline (NYC).