Anna Tambour, “The Walking-Stick Forest.” Tor.com, May 21, 2014.
A weird fiction revenge story in which the person seeking revenge comes to some well deserved grief themselves. Not that much fantastical about it, but it reminded me somewhat of interbellum horror and weird fiction stories without being a pastiche.
Natalia Theodoridou, “The Eleven Holy Numbers of the Mechanical Soul.” Clarkesworld, February 2014.
This is a brilliantly done take on an old subgenre, that of the stranded astronaut on an alien planet and how they fill up their lives when rescue is …unlikely. Here the stranded astronauts makes large automotons from his wrecked spaceship’s resources, inspired by Theo Jansen’s strandbeesten. The holy numbers of the title are also inspired by these strandbeesten.
E. Catherine Tobler, “Migratory Patterns of Underground Birds.” Clarkesworld, May 2014.
A woman walks through an empty world having escaped from a bunker, looking for company but not finding it anywhere, just more empty bunkers. Throughout the story there are hints that she was the victim of alien abduction, but she herself doesn’t remember anything of what happened before she found herself in this world. A nicely atmospheric story that is careful not to provide any real answers.
Jeremiah Tolbert, “In the Dying Light, We Saw a Shape.” Lightspeed, January 2014.
This is the quintessential example of a particular strain of hippy science fiction, where peace and love are meant to bring us to the stars. A few years into the future, “space whales” start “beaching” themselves on Earth and certain people feel telepathich messages or hallucinations when they touch the beached carcasses. Thom is one of them, one of the most sensitive and he’s used by Lilian, the leader of the Contactee movement, to get closer to the mystery of the whales. Nicely done, but incredibly sentimental and if you’re allergic to that, don’t read this.