Friday Morning Story Time
Hey, good news! Over at io9, you can read Catherynne Valente’s “Days of Flaming Motorcycles” from Maurice Broaddus’ Apex Books anthology Dark Faith. Reminds me a bit of Kelly Link’s “The Hortlak” in all the right ways — a melancholy, more-or-less relaxed story about zombies who are probably not mindless, tender cannibalism, and hating a place so much that you stay there. There’s always something to like in Valente’s short fiction, but this is definitely one of my favorites; the voice of the story is easy, natural, comfortable, and her subversions of zombie tropes are so understated that they feel more like corrections.
The new issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies is up, featuring a story by Campbell and Nebula nominee Saladin Ahmed. “Mister Hadj’s Sunset Ride” is a fun and propulsive weird-western in which a badass man-of-few-words Muslim hexslinger tracks down an outlaw named Parson Lucifer. Took me a few pages to warm to the westerny narration, but the action’s vivid, the magic strange, and the characters so satisfyingly iconic that I hope to see more of them. BCS is, as always, available in a hell-ton of digital formats, including ePub.
Alice Sola Kim’s “The Other Graces” isn’t available online, but it’s more than worth the price of admission for the latest issue of Asimov’s, and I hope/suspect it’ll pop up in quite a few best-of-the-year lists. It’s one of those rare, rare stories that creates a complete and totally compelling headspace, a full and textured person; for all its cool ideas (a girl’s alternate universe selves help her to get into an Ivy League school), “The Other Graces” rocks-and-rolls on the strength of Grace herself, her electric anxieties and aspirations. An absolutely essential read for 2010, and a piece that should appeal to folks who aren’t regular SF readers.