Saturday, May 31, 2014

Short Stories: M.R. Carey, John Chu, Justin Torres

I read countless short stories yearly but I rarely feature them on their own. Today I'm highlighting three single shorts that are not only excellent reads, but also free downloads. Check it out.

"Melanie was new herself, once, but that's hard to remember because it was a long time ago. It was before there were any words; there were just things without names, and things without names don't stay in your mind. They fall out, and then they're gone.

Now she's ten years old, and she has skin like a princess in a fairy tale; skin as white as snow. So she knows that when she grows up she'll be beautiful, with princes falling over themselves to climb her tower and rescue her.

Assuming, of course, that she has a tower."
I read the extended free preview of "The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey" (9 chapters!), and it turned out to be an absolutely fabulous speculative fiction read! I'm not saying much more about the story at this point because I believe it should be approached from a fresh perspective, but know this: if you give this book a try the main narrator and central character, a ten-year old whose name is Melanie, will snare you into reading the whole thing.

I am salivating to continue reading but have to wait until the whole novel releases on June 10th! I have high expectations for the rest of the book. As a teaser this preview is the perfect hook, but it also works really well as a short story. It gets an A- from me ONLY because I know there's more to come. Highly recommended.


In the near future water falls from the sky whenever someone lies (either a mist or a torrential flood depending on the intensity of the lie). This makes life difficult for Matt as he maneuvers the marriage question with his lover and how best to "come out" to his traditional Chinese parents.

I strongly recommend John Chu's The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere, a short piece nominated this year for a Hugo Award. I think what needs to be said about this piece has already been said. But personally what I like most about the story is how effectively, albeit sparingly, Chu uses the falling water. I like how this device affects the characters and plot which main focus is on family, love, and relationships. The writing style is both beautiful and concise, making this SF short story a personal favorite.

This story is also included in Some of the Best From Tor.com, 2013 Edition: A Tor.Com Original. Also available as a free download.


Reverting to the Wild State by Justin Torres was published in The New Yorker Magazine, August 1, 2011, but I just read it this past week.

Justin Torres is a fabulous writer whose 2011 novel We the Animals was acknowledged widely and garnered positive attention and reviews. This short piece gives the reader a taste of his writing style and a different sort of story.

Reverting to the Wild State is not much more than a broad sketch of a relationship that is related in reverse by the author. That first step as the story goes back in time is confusing but quickly becomes clear. This piece is unique, sad, and rather haunting, and leaves the reader wanting more. Free online read

2 comments:

  1. I realised I read the original MR Carey short story in one of the Charlaine Harris/Toni P Kelner anthologies (after some Googling) - I recognised the premise and it was driving me mad! Really liked it, despite me not being a zombie fan at all - interesting that it's been expanded into a novel.

    Will have to check out the other two now.

    Li

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Li, it's interesting that Carey first wrote it as a short story. I didn't know that. It works beautifully! I didn't know what it was about, but I became invested in it as soon as I read the first paragraph. I am really looking forward to reading the whole novel.

      Enjoy the other two pieces. :)

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