Short Fiction

Dec 12, 17:34 by IROSF
A thread to Short Fiction from the fall of 2006.

Lois' reviews can be found here.
Dec 12, 21:00 by Jed Hartman
Thanks as always for the reviews, Lois!

One quick note about Jamie Barras's "Spinning Out":

You wrote: "It is annoying that the SH editors chose to split this one up into two very short installments."

I'm sorry to hear you felt the story wasn't long enough to split. We usually (but not quite always) split any story that's over 6000 words long (for various reasons, especially budget reasons); in this case, the story was a total of about 6800 words long. Each half was thus not much shorter than our average weekly story length (which is about 3500-4000 words); in fact, each half of "Spinning Out" was longer than Heather Lindsley's "Mayfly," and each half was about twice the length of Carrie Vaughn's "Winnowing the Herd."

So although "Spinning Out" is certainly a fast-paced read, I would disagree that each half of it is very short, at least not compared to the rest of the fiction we publish.

I realize that that doesn't really address your underlying issue with splitting the story, though; if the two halves each felt too short, I can see that that would be annoying regardless of wordcount.
Dec 13, 03:55 by Jetse de Vries
The Interzone #206 review does not cover Chris Beckett's story "Karel's Prayer".

I don't know if it's IRoSF's policy or intent to cover *every* story in a magazine's issue, or not. Although the review does cover *all* stories of the Asimov's, F&SF, Aeon, Clarkeworld Magazine, Lone Star Stories, and Chizine issues (and the Analog except the serial).

But I thought I just mentioned that it was omitted.


Co-editor, Interzone
Dec 14, 07:58 by Lois Tilton
hmmm - Jetse, the answer to that would seem to be: I missed it.

Looking up the magazine, I see that I read the story but seem to have omitted it from the review. My error.

Here: This is an interesting, though didactic, piece of speculation about the question of personal identity. Karel Slade is a covert agent for a sort of Christo-terrorist group opposed to artificial life forms, which they consider an abomination. He wakes one morning to discover himself the captive of interrogators who make it clear that they will use any means to extract information from him about his group. Karel has prepared himself for this possibility, he prays to God for strength to endure the torture. But then the interrogators reveal that he is not really Karel Slade, only a copy, with his memories - an artificial life form. And surely God will not answer the prayers of an abomination.

This story with its twists and turns is thought-provoking, but it was a bit heavy on the lecture mode, and the interrogation did not evoke a sense of real menace, such as readers usually expect from crime or espionage fiction.

Dec 15, 06:02 by Jetse de Vries
Thanks Lois!
Dec 16, 13:52 by Jim Van Pelt
Hi, Lois. Thanks for the review. As always, you provide interesting perspective on the stories.
Dec 17, 09:29 by Steve Jesseph
As always, I appreciate your in-depth review.
Dec 17, 13:17 by Lois Tilton
Glad to hear you enjoyed it, everyone
Dec 28, 08:03 by twosheds
Concerning F&SF, I most hardily agree that Hughes' world is both complicated and fascinating. I've come to accept that what I consider over-writing is both the intended style of the author and consistent with the milieu and characters. I had a few issues. There were sections where characters were "sighing" a lot, or at times, "taking deep breaths" to the point where someone might have hyperventilated. The section where Bandar had to acquaint himself (and therefore, the reader) with terms like "horse" "canter" and "reins" moved at snail speed. The dispassionate view of Bandar's is consistent with his character, but it's draining from a story that needs passion. His uncle's life is in jeopardy as far as he knows. There were parts that zoomed over my head-way to psychological for my tastes. Bandar's need to evaluate events makes certain sections move at glacial speed. To make a complicated story work with its complicated concepts, the author has to dedicate pages of explanation for the benefit (benefit?) of the reader.

"The Christmas Witch" started off with a nice creepy feel to it, but it gave me no sense of direction. By the 14th page, I still had no idea what the story was about, and that's where I gave up.

I was ready to hate the "Dazzle" story based on the premise, but it was OK. I don't like the stereotyping of Germans (or anybody) as petty intellectuals. Much of the story depends on the reader caring about Heinrich, but he has no sympathetic qualities.

Is the "Damascus" story considered "slipstream?" It bounces from current to past to current, which threw me in a couple of places.

"Pills Forever" started slowly. There was no obvious conflict by the 6th page. The character did everything possible to save the cat because, I guess, it was a metaphor for saving himself. The calculations the character constantly went through meant something, I'm sure. Just don't know what.

The Charcoal Burner story was mildly enjoyable, but pointless, filled with people and deities acting without logical explanation.
Dec 28, 18:33 by Lois Tilton
I look forward to seeing the Guth Bandar story in its novelized form, in which I hope a lot of the repetitive backfilling necessary for the serialization will have been eliminated.

I think Hughes' style could wear thin very quickly for some readers. I like it, myself, but I prefer his Buth Bandar material to the Henghis Hapthorn stuff because the style is essentially all there is to the latter, but the Bandar story is interesting in its own right, and would be so without Hughes' particular diction.

IMO "Damascus" is a somewhat ambiguous fantasy but not sufficiently ambiguous to be slipstream - as I see it.
Jun 14, 09:18 by
Good to know man. I am glad to hear that


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