Today I want to point out a few of my favorite works of short fiction that were published in July 2017! As it happens, the stories in this round are themed for Halloween week, since each of them is pretty disturbing in its own way. I decided to put a content warning this time, since I think they’re a lot darker than the stories I usually recommend. Rich Larson and Mary Robinette Kowal I have featured in this series for more cheerful stories before(here and here), and G.V. Anderson is new to me. As usual, I have provided links for the works that are available online.
The Worshipful Society of Glovers by Mary Robinette Kowal (Novelette, Uncanny): This takes place in an interesting fantasy world, where brownies and human artisans work together to stitch magic into gloves for the well-to-do. The hero and his sister are desperately poor, and his apprenticeship as a glove maker gives hope for their future. His sister is severely epileptic, though, and he fears each day that she will be injured or die in an episode while he is away at work. He is determined to acquire gloves to stop her seizures, no matter what the cost. The writing in this one was evocative and the characters emotionally compelling, but I feel like have to give a warning about the sheer sadness of the story.
Content warning: violence, sadness
I Am Not I by G.V. Anderson (Novelette, Fantasy & Science Fiction, information): In a unusual and creative world, bug-like humans prey on ordinary humans, who they derogatively call “saps”. The narrator, who was born a “sap”, has gone into the industry of buying and selling human parts as curiosities, in order to finance the operations that allow her to pass in society. Her secret is only tenuously kept, and she has no illusions as to what will happen if her employer discovers it. This is a dark and disturbing story, and the narrator is certainly no hero. It was really engrossing, and it would be neat to see what might happen next in this world.
Content warning: disturbing imagery, dehumanization
Travelers by Rich Larson (Short Story, Clarkesworld): Were you disappointed by the romantic comedy slant of the movie Passengers, when the premise seemed a bit more like horror? “Travelers” approaches the same kind of situation from a very different angle. Beware, there is not going to be a romantic ending to this tale of colony ship terror!
Content warning: violence, implied sexual violence