Collected Short Stories: March

I wanted to try something different. See, time’s getting shorter and shorter for me, so I thought: What jives with this and still gives me my reading fix? Short stories of course! So I’m deciding to both hone my reviewing skills and my comprehension while still being on the go. Because yes, that makes sense. With places such as Tor, Unsung Stories, and much more offering tantalizing tales, how could I pass up this idea?

Anyway, I gathered some short stories I read for the month of March. Probably do a “one-a-week” policy, (shush, I know it’s not the end of the month; I’m impatient.) along with my regular criteria. But be warned, these critiques will be anything but. Short and sweet as can be. Hopefully.

Ouroboros

Ouroboros by Cassandra Khaw

Tearing, evocative, and cutting look at death and expectations that might confuse you from the start. Hell, I’m probably getting the themes wrong already, but it was a wonderful read. Needed more, quite frankly, with such a confident voice in under a few thousand words.

Favorite quote: Her blood tastes like smoke, cinnamon, and cicada dreams of summer sunlight.

Highly recommended. 7.5/10

Schrodinger's Gun

Schrödinger’s Gun by Ray Wood

Nice little noir short with biting prose, sharper wit, and a look at the aftermath of dwelling too much on what-ifs. Nice ending to boot.

Favorite quote: That’s one thing they don’t tell you about Schrödinger’s cat: you leave the lid on the box too long and the damn thing starves regardless. No quantum possibilities required.

Highly recommended. 7.5/10

The Hell of It

The Hell of It by Peter Orullian

Nice little tale of one man’s story of sacrifice and suffering. Pretty bland plot aside from the card game, and littered with molasses-esque prose, but it tugs at the heart strings even if it doesn’t on the mind.

Favorite quote: See that he grows up right, my love. I want him to be honest and fair. I want him to work hard and follow his heart. I want him to be like his father.

Give it a try, least the first few paragraphs. 6/10

The Language of Knives

The Language of Knives by Haralambi Markov

Interesting play with narration; not everybody can pull off second-person in such an alien world where the dead are cut up and baked into cakes. Harrowing and dark tale that cuts deep surprisingly and is ultimately satisfying by the end.

Favorite quote: Your daughter excels in this preparatory work—her blade is swift, precise, and gentle.

How can she not? After all, she is a gift from the gods. A gift given to two lovers who thought they could never have a child on their own. A miracle. The completion you sought after in your youth; a honey-tinged bliss that filled you with warmth. But as with all good things, your bliss waxed and waned as you realized: all children have favorites.

You learned how miracles can hurt.

Recommended not for the squeamish. 7/10

The Human Engineer

The Human Engineer by Jessica Brody

Little disjointed and rambly; quite a contrast to the short sentences, but could be much worse. In a world where babies are created per se, not born anymore, I guess the premise can be forgiven. Besides, bio-medical engineering just screams for a sequel. Definitely not enough pay off, but it works. Like the doctor leading this creation.

Favorite quote: They moved ominously toward him, like darkness creeping into his vision, constantly approaching but never getting any closer. It was an optical illusion that even his engineer brain couldn’t comprehend.

Recommended if yearning for a Sci-Fi fix. 6.5/10

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