Fictional essay or possibly short story: “Sgt. Augmento”

“Sgt. Augmento,” by Bruce Sterling

Appeared in Terraform, August 17th, 2016

1959 words

(Spoilers.) I wasn’t expecting this piece to turn into a paean to television—television, of all things!—but it was great.

I’m guessing this is the same Bruce Sterling who wrote some of my favorite kids’ books? Versatile guy.


Short story: “Robert from ‘Cat Person’ Asks for Relationship Advice on Reddit”

“Robert from ‘Cat Person’ Asks for Relationship Advice on Reddit,” by Rachel McCarthy James

Appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, December 12th, 2017

905 words

Oh man, is this ever accurate. I hope this fictional Reddit post gets some very blunt replies.

Short story: “The Jesus Singularity”

“The Jesus Singularity,” by Zoltan Istvan

Appeared in Terraform, August 24th, 2016

2,519 words


Short story: “The Exemption Packet”

“The Exemption Packet,” by Rose Eveleth

Appeared in Terraform, August 31st, 2016

Less than 2,000 words, several images

Interesting look at a kid who seems to have autism or ADHD, and how they struggle with new technology. I’d like to think future tech will actually benefit people with such conditions, but we’ve seen problems like this in the past, as when talkie movies came out and excluded the Deaf people who had been able to enjoy the silents.

Short story: “Mall School”

“Mall School,” by Porpentine Charity Heartscape

Appeared in Terraform, September 7th, 2016

2,163 words

A day in the life of a kind of retrofuture world, a future as imagined by the 1990s. I like it.

I spent a good portion of this story waiting to see if the NeoHumanPet was going to get its Sparkle Mood Potion. Spoiler: It didn’t.

Short story: “The Return”

“The Return,” by Debbie Urbanski

Appeared in Terraform, September 22nd, 2016

2,516 words

Disturbing and elegantly ambiguous. Edit: Or maybe the word I want is “unresolved.”

Short story or perhaps radio play: “Calling Your Girlfriend”

“Calling Your Girlfriend,” by Kristen Roupenian

Appeared on The Hairpin, February 22nd, 2012

1,082 words

Funny, but lightweight. I guess I was expecting a twist at the end or something.

Short story: “Long Hair”

“Long Hair,” by Uche Okonkwo

Appeared in Per Contra, summer 2016

2458 words

A tale of childish cruelty, “innocent” cruelty.

Found via the author’s blog after I went looking for more about the author of “The Girl Who Lied.” Good to read Per Contra again.

Short story: “The Girl Who Lied”

“The Girl Who Lied,” by Uche Okonkwo

Published as Ploughshares Solo 5.5

Maybe 5,000 words? Not sure

This is a good short story (I checked the author’s blog and it is a short story, not a memoir—the narrator’s name should have tipped me off, I suppose). Of course, the ending shuts the door in our faces—the door of Kemi’s point of view, which is inaccessible to us as to our narrator—but there are hints we can piece together into a resolution.

Kemi’s story of the man in the night suggests sexual molestation to me, probably by the uncle.

A malicious, ironic smile

“Someone died every night. He ‘told’ me about it by pointing once to a bed that was empty. Another time he showed me a patient, a jolly man who walked about a lot, enjoyed eating and had a tube in his throat. He had a moustache and shining eyes. Kafka was very pleased that he had such a good appetite. The next day he pointed to his empty bed. Kafka wasn’t shaken but positively angry, as if he couldn’t grasp that a man who’d been so gay had had to die. I will never forget his malicious, ironic smile.”

—Dora Dymant (found in K: A Biography of Kafka)