Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Short Stories I Read In April

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

The God, Descendant by Amanda Helms (Uncanny Magazine; Issue Fifty-Seven)

The first piece I checked out in April was flash fiction by Amanda Helms called The God, Descendant. It’s a story about two gods, either rising or falling, who were locked in a seemingly never ending cycle inherent to their natures and names—only passing one another occasionally. Most of the story is contemplative, as the narrative is firmly rooted in the perspective of the Falling God. It’s a conversation between the two, as they questioned the state of, well, rising and falling, just as much as it was also about the answers (solution) they eventually arrived at. This was a relatively simple story, but I enjoyed it.

Afflictions of the New Age by Katherine Ewell (Uncanny Magazine; Issue Fifty-Seven)

The next short story I read was Afflictions of the New Age by Katherine Ewell. The story excels at atmosphere and certainly knew how to set up a scene, because it does start with a narrator who may or may not be reliable as well as a series of questions by authorities, which hinted at the overarching mystery of the situation (how the opening scene came to be). It doesn’t take long, however, for the narrative to delve into the context and implications behind the title. The prose and storytelling were simply engrossing, and I enjoyed the melancholic impression left by Afflictions of the New Age. After all, it’s a story of cures and illnesses as well as the unforeseen consequences of finding a way to live forever—but of losing one’s perception of time as well as a linear grasp on the order of memories in the process.

The Oldest Fun by Natalia Theodoridou (Clarkesworld Magazine; Issue 211; April 2024)

Next, I decided to see what Clarkesworld was publishing in April, and I ended up reading Natalia Theodoridou's The Oldest Fun. The quickest way I can sum up this story is: a deadlier form of Jumanji. The narrative implies the game is far older than what one might think, and it pulls in players in a way that can feel reminiscent to the classic movie. The Oldest Fun is, in the end, it's own tale with its own implications and context. I liked this story, particularly for the writing style and the smart twist toward the end—which made it memorable.

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