Short Story Round-Up, Part 1

A quick collection of some of my short story reviews and their links. I generally happen upon shorts if a friend reviewed them, if they are published, or if they are award nominees.


“Give the Family My Love”

by A.T. Greenblatt (Clarkesworld Magazine, 149, Feb. 2019)
Read July 2020
Recommended for fans of Abercrombie, The Godfather
★   ★   ★  1/2


“Probably Still the Chosen One”

by Kelly Barnhill (Lightspeed Magazine)
Read July 2020
Recommended for fans of 
★   ★   1/2

Two and a half stars.

Probably Still the Chosen One


“Carnival Nine”

by Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
Read July 2020
Recommended for fans of 
★   ★    ★   ★ 

Four stars for a Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Short Story Nominee. A windup creature portions out her life by the turns. Ultimately, one of those reflections on life that’s done in a unique way. Parts feel slow, which is why the less than five stars.

Carnival Nine


How Quini the Squid Misplaced

“How Quini the Squid Misplaced His Klobucar”

by Rich Larson (
Read July 2020
Recommended for fans of 
★   ★   ★   1/2

Very unusual. Feels like Kameron Hurlery wrote it. Violent and twisty, with something about it that feels human and appropriately vengeful. There’s an interesting gender-bendy angle to it that is reasonably well integrated.

“I lay it all out for her, all the blocks I’ve been stacking and rearranging in my head for the past three days, ever since I got wind of Quini’s little storage problem. Like I said before, he’s a well-rounded businessman: narcotics, guns, malware. Usually none of the product stays in Barcelona long, and while it’s here it’s circulating in a fleet of innocuous cars driving randomized routes.

But he recently got his suckers on something very rare, something he hasn’t been able to move yet, and it’s so valuable he’s keeping it in his own home. He even felt the need to get himself a new security chief to keep tabs on it. Which might have been a good idea, except his old security chief was awfully unhappy about her loss of employment.”

How Quini the Squid Misplaced His Klobučar


“The Death of Fire Station 10”

by Ray Nayler (Lightspeed Magazine)
Read July 2020
Recommended for fans of 
★   ★   ★   ★   

Four stars for “The Death of Fire Station 10” , a thoughtful mediation on consciousness and empathy, which reminds me very recently of a discussion on one of Trevor’s reviews, “Against Empathy.”…

The Death of Fire Station 10


“The Autobiography of a Traitor and Half-Savage “

by Alix E. Harrow (
Read July 2020
Recommended for fans of the Old West
★   ★   ★   ★   

Four stars. Wow. This should have won things. Very powerful story of a mapmaking ‘half-breed’ woman and the taming of the West.
Along the lines of “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience,” but better.

Does contain footnotes which I found rather distracting. Not sure what Harrow was going for with them (shreds of white legitimacy?). Since it was published in 2016, I’ll blame the terrible influence of such books as Jonathan Strange.

The Autobiography of a Traitor and a Half-Savage


“Maneki Neko”

by Bruce Sterling (Lightspeed Magazine)
Read July 2020
Recommended for fans of 
★   ★   ★   ★   

Four stars. Read for “Maneki Neko” by Bruce Sterling, published in April 2011 in Lightspeed, originally published 1998, and the 1999 Locus Award Winner for Best Short Story.

It’s a fun little story about pocket computers and how they interact with our lives, first published in Japan. I can’t believe he published it in 1998. Incredible degree of foresight. I’m wondering if he fell through a time warp.

For perspective, I think in 1998, my cop friend had a “bag” satellite phone that was the size of a regular, corded phone. I had a ‘Palm Pilot’ that had a calendar, some apps, a small medical database and about 8 MB of memory. The big game on Apple was probably Myst, and I think I had a dial-up modem with AOL as the internet provider.

Maneki Neko


“The Girl Who Stole Herself”

by R. Garcia y Robertson (Asimov’s Science Fiction)
Read July 2020
Recommended for fans of 
★   ★   ★   ★   

One of the only things I read that feels like a video game… in a good, feminist, fun way. Yeah, unusual.

From Asimov’s Science Fiction, July/August 2017




“How Sere Picked Up Her Laundry” by Alexander Jablokov



About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
This entry was posted in Book reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Short Story Round-Up, Part 1

  1. Melora Campbell says:

    Short stories are what I’m craving these days — with fiction,at least, my attention flags by the fifty page mark. Thank you so much for these reviews (especially the Jackalope Wives collection — I’ve read the title story, but not the others!).

  2. cathepsut says:

    I have been a total failure at reading short stories this year… I am so scattered and short of patience, I find it hard to get into shorts stories. I know, that sentence doesn‘t even make sense, short stories should be great for my quarantine brain, but I just can‘t…

    • thebookgator says:

      Fascinating! i’m kind of the exact opposite. “just a little longer.” And whatever distraction is nagging at my doorstep can usually be ignored just a touch more… 🙂

  3. pdtillman says:

    I remember that “Girl Who Stole Herself” story fondly. RGyR has a thing for slavery, always of beautiful young women, most of whom win free by their wits. I wish he’d collect them. And I wish they were easier to find! [looks] Aha: it’s a series, perhaps still in progress: Five stories, one this year, all in Asimovs. “Amanda James / Cole the Younger” series, per ISFDB. I sure wish Asimovs would let us buy individual back issues! Not.

    Nor do I see the other stories I’m thinking of, which were likely reprinted by Dozois.
    None of these Amanda/Cole stories have been reprinted. His only collection remains “The Moon Maid and Other”(1998), which I liked a lot.

    • thebookgator says:

      Oh how fun. I remember the name of “The Girl” but not the plot. This is why I need an actual database. Sigh. More work to do here. Limited by headaches this week.

      • pdtillman says:

        Hope the headache is better….

        We don’t seem to have a used bookstore around here with piles of old SF magazines, dammit. Not that those are open now. And I don’t trawl charity stores as I used to — too much stuff already! It is odd that the publishers of Asimovs (etc) leave $$$ on the table by not selling e-copies of back issues!

  4. pdtillman says:

    And thanks for the story links! Especially since our tastes often jibe.

    C., you might like ” Lady Robyn “(Knight Errant #2)
    by R. Garcia y Robertson:
    “Miss Rodeo Montana” in the War of the Roses! Pretty silly, but fun. And the novel of his I REALLY liked was “The Virgin and the Dinosaur”
    — a fixup, and a good one. Also Asimov’s stories iirc. Certainly qualifies as “Dick Lit”, as in led around by. It works out, more or less. The sequel is good, too.

  5. pdtillman says:

    OK, Carol. I sent you the new Kritzer Cat & King fantasy, right? But maybe you haven’t seen Sherwood Smith’s latest, “Commando Bats”, which she describes as “total fluffy fun.”
    Enjoy! I know you will.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.