Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Shot Stories I Read In May

It’s the twenty-ninth of June, so it’s time to talk about the short stories, miscellaneous posts, and podcast episodes I read or listened to in May.

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells (Tor.com, April 19, 2021)

Toward the end of April, there were two short stories I wanted to read but never got around to. The first of them was a story by Martha Wells set in the Murderbot Diaries universe—and taking place just after the fourth novella—called Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory. The perspective of the story is from Dr. Mensah’s POV, and it was great to get into the mind of a different character from this series—especially one who is one of my favorites. This story primarily dealt with the emotional toll on Mensah from the events of the story, as well as questions surrounding SecUnit’s continued presence on Preservation Aux. This story is just excellent. And given that this takes place well into the series, there are spoilers for the first four novellas.

The Angel of Khan el-Khalili by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com, April 28, 2021)

The second short story I mentioned above dropped right at the end of April, on the twenty-eighth. P. Djèlí Clark’s, The Angel of Kahn el-Khalili, is set in the same world as the Master of Djinn, and wow this was a fantastic story. There were descriptors that hearken back to the author’s previous works in this world such as The Haunting of Tram Car 015—one of my favorite reads from last year. In the Angel of Khan el-Khalili, there are two sisters, one is going to ask for a favor—a miracle instead of a wish—and the other who we’re told is dying isn’t actually seen except for in exposition. Stories that deal with wishes (or feats that are kind of like them) can go either way, good or bad, and the price for it can be anything. I liked Clark’s interpretation of this. From the first sentence to the last, P. Djèlí Clark created an engrossing story that was steeped in magic and history against the backdrop of a richly detailed and steampunk-esque setting.

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