Thursday, September 09, 2010

Short Fiction Thursday

I haven't done this (otherwise regular) feature for a few weeks now. I've still been reading the stories at my usual ezines, and I've enjoyed some of them as well. The silence shouldn't be taken as a sign that the stories haven't been good...though it's true that none has jumped out as definitely one I want to rave about. I haven't been reading quite as many, though, because I've also been reading short fiction in print, sometimes at times when I would otherwise be reading them online.

One anthology I'm making my way through is the John Klima-edited Logorrhea. I'd read several of the stories before, and some of them received well-due praise at the time (Daniel Abraham's Hugo-nominated "The Cambist and Lord Iron" certainly deserves its nomination). A couple from those I've read over the past week jumped out at me, though, in part because I don't recall any discussion of them at the time the book came out:

Neil Williamson's "The Euonymist" is actually a reprint, having appeared in Electric Velocipede originally (which, of course, is also edited by Klima). Euonym means an appropriate name for something, and the titular character's job is to decide how to name newly discovered things, from planets to plant species, within the context of the many competing intelligent species of a galaxy-wide Bloc. And having a name chosen from your own cultural history is a great point of pride. A very well-crafted and entertaining story.

Tim Pratt's "From Around Here" appears to have actually gotten some notice at the time, including being reprinted in a Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, but it escaped my notice. It's the story of supernatural spirits who are deeply tied to a particular location. The narrator, Reva, senses something wrong in the neighborhood he comes to and tries to figure out what it is so he can make it right. The story actually reminded me of Octavia Butler's Patternist stories, which is a very good thing to be reminded of.

These are far from the only good stories here, and I haven't even finished reading all of them, but these are two that jumped out at me over the past week. Next week I'm hoping to get back into mentioning some of the stories in online zines.

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