Short story: “Half Pipe”

“Half Pipe,” by Zoe Whittall

Appeared in Hazlitt, July 21st, 2017, with some illustrations by Vicki Nerino

5,363 words

This is really good stuff. Spoilers follow. I felt like the ending was too abrupt. It’s been set up mechanically—all the elements are in place for this thing to happen—but it doesn’t feel justified by the story. The story shouldn’t end with a bang, it should end with Morgan and the changes she’s undergone. (It also occurs to me that this ending could be a punishment for Tyler’s crimes. Maybe Morgan’s barely expressed anger is coming out through her uncle. That doesn’t seem quite right though.)


This makes me feel better

“Being creepy is a part of human nature, and learning to recognize and put boundaries on our own creepiness is something curricular Sex Ed should teach us, but never will.”

—Helena Fitzgerald in this great essay about growing up (found via this)

Short story: “Uncanny”

“Uncanny,” by James Patrick Kelly

Appeared in Asimov’s, October/November 2014, Vol. 38, Nos. 10-11 (Whole Nos. 465-466), edited by Sheila Williams; read by Dani Cutler in episode 489 of Escape Pod, April 8th, 2015

1,421 words

Pretty funny, though a bit generic as sexbot stories go.

Short story: “Everyone Will Want One”

“Everyone Will Want One,” by Kelly Sandoval

Appeared in Asimov’s #464, September 2014, edited by Sheila Williams; read by Erin Bardua for episode 498 of Escape Pod, July 6th, 2015

5,837 words

(Spoilers.) An interesting artificial intelligence story, as well as a subtle, economical high school drama. (Or are they in middle school?) I like the note of hope at the end.

Flash fiction story: “The Blue Piano”

“The Blue Piano,” by Charles Rafferty

Appeared in Juked, January 16th, 2018 (I don’t think it appeared in a print issue; it doesn’t say)

537 words

I’m tagging this “failures of human connection” even though it’s mostly about an inanimate object. The piano is like a living thing, a symbol of the men’s failure to honor the old man and his wife.

Flash fiction story: “Little Trees and Paper Lanterns”

“Little Trees and Paper Lanterns,” by Robert P. Kaye

Appeared in Jellyfish Review, January 17th, 2018

802 words

Dryly funny.

Flash fiction story: “The 45th President of the United States and I Went to a Petting Zoo”

“The 45th President of the United States and I Went to a Petting Zoo,” by Grant Gerald Miller

Appeared in (b)OINK, October 13th, 2017

513 words

A bizarre and charming fantasy. I like the stilted repetition of “the 45th President” and its refusal to actually say the guy’s name.

“The 45th President slowly mouthed the world animal. Animals, I said. They’re called animals. You’re supposed to pet them.”

Edited to add: It has been confirmed that the president can, in fact, identify several different animals.

Flash fiction story: “One-Way Family”

“One-Way Family,” by Claire Polders

Appeared in (b)OINK, December 12th, 2017

544 words

I like this story. The tragedy of the protagonist finding her (?) way to loving her sister only when it’s too late.

“Happiness, he said, is a pause between misery and regret.”

Short story: “Snowplow”

“Snowplow,” by Jon Methven

Appeared in The Awl, January 16th, 2018

2,980 words

This is clever and amusing, but I don’t think it works very well as satire, because corporate crackdowns on harassment, to my knowledge, haven’t been very extreme at all. Chaperones at company events is the most remarkable thing I’ve heard of. I do like the ending.

It’s a shame The Awl is shutting down, along with The Hairpin. They ran some interesting stuff.

Short story: “The Future of Hunger in the Age of Programmable Matter”

“The Future of Hunger in the Age of Programmable Matter,” by Sam J. Miller

Appeared in Tor.com, October 18th, 2017

6,312 words

An interesting story about a man struggling with temptation and, I think, a subtly abusive boyfriend. The kaiju attacks are more of a backdrop than anything else, though I suppose you could make a case for the polymers being a metaphor for the way our own lives can feel out of control.

Found via a recommendation from Brandon O’Brien in Strange Horizons.