October is here, first drizzly and gray, now bright but sharp with cold. It’s time to bundle up in sweaters, make stews and soups, and cuddle with
good stories and a cup of tea. Here to keep you company are some stories I
loved from late summer and the earliest fall.
of darkness, healing, love, and passion
“The Last Epic Pub Crawl of the Brothers Pennyfeather” by L. Chan in The Dark Chan is one of the most wildly
inventive writers I know, and this story shows off his pyrotechnics of
imagination, his poetic language and humor. . . as well as a delicacy of
emotion that is all the more powerful for its restraint. Bob and Bill are the
Brothers Pennyfeather, a duo of ghost hunters/exorcists who have been trained
in their Work by their mother. After a job gone terribly wrong and mutual
absence, the brothers reunite for one last epic pub crawl. Creepy ghosts abound
at each pub they visit, and brotherly snark and banter enliven the night. But
there’s something much deeper going on than a…
It finally feels like spring
as I write this, a seemingly endless winter finally behind us and the world
moving forward (if late!) into a new season. It’s fitting, then, that so many
of the stories in this roundup speak of movement and change, of seasons on both
cosmic and personal scales. Here are tales of darkness and tales of warmth and
light, of horror and of healing. If it’s still cold where you are, curl up with
these stories and a blanket and cup of hot tea. If it’s warm, read them anyway.
May they offer you a moment of stillness in this changing season and world.
Stories “Cosmic Spring” by Ken Liu at Lightspeed The universe is in deep winter. This is my
conclusion after studying the matter for 6.7 trillion years. The universe is in winter: the
time near the end, as everything winds down toward maximal entropy. During this
winter, one last sentience travels through space, harvesting the energy of
dying stars. As it travels, it tries to assemble from its memory banks a
April and May brought so many stories of strangeness, beauty, love, and darkness. Here's a sampling of just some of what I loved.
Stories of Beauty, Strangeness,
and Love “Mothers, Watch Over Me,” by Maria Haskins in Mythic Delirium I confess that I’m not even a
dog person, yet this story nearly had me in tears. In a post-apocalyptic world,
a dog named Maya gives birth to a sickly pup. Although she has lost puppies
before, she knows that this one must
live, and she is determined to do all she can to make it so. Maya carries her
litter of pups in a basket with her into the Forbidding, on a journey to the
towers of God for help. A beautifully written, delicate, and poignant story of
love, survival, and determination. “Strange
Waters”by Samantha Mills in Strange Horizons Another story about a desperate (this time human) mother.
Mika is a sailor who is lost at sea. She knows where she is in relation to the coastline and her home city of
Maelstrom. But she often doesn’t know when
she is. …