Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Short Fiction Tuesday

A pair of wildly different stories this week: "Bearing Fruit" by Nikki Alfar and "The History Within Us" by Matthew Kressel.

"Bearing Fruit" has a fairy-tale feel to it, as a teenage girl sets out to discover the mango tree whose fruit impregnated her. Nicely subverted at the end--I love the line "But you have managed to learn some other things over the past months: that truths do not necessarily come in threes..." As that sentence shows, the story's in second person. I've periodically run into people who violently dislike second person, but I've never understood that. I think second often works best when the "you" addressed is distinctly, radically different from me as a reader, and the (teenage, female, pregnant) "you" here certainly fulfills that. It also manages to preserve the fairy tale sense of the telling while drawing the reader in more intimately here, something that can be difficult with works that cling too close to a fairy tale telling.

"The History Within Us" is a far-future SF story about a galaxy in shambles, post-humans, and a group of beings preparing to crash into a black hole in the hope of then being flung into a new universe. It's also the story of memory, of legacy and shame and the stories people tell. Much of the story is actually in the backstory, as it gets revealed, but that's paired with the very human main storyline about what the protagonist will do with her collected pieces of human history.

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