Short Story Round Up, Part 3

‘They’re Made of Meat’

by Terry Bisson
Read January 2021
Recommended for fans of humor
 ★     ★    ★    ★    


It’s made of meat, and I still prefer not to eat it.

“Do you have any idea what’s the life span of meat?””

Five days or less, refrigerated?

A fast little piece, it’s bound to make you chuckle. It more or less confirms everything I’ve ever thought about alien life.

First in Omni, 2015, now on his blog

They’re Made of Meat


‘’Metal Like Blood in the Dark’

by T. Kingfisher
Read February 2021
Recommended for A.I.s
 ★     ★     ★   1/2

An interesting look at a couple of newly created A.I.s and what they do with their freedom and parameters. It felt a little predictable at first, but I should have trusted Kingfisher, because it turned a corner and got much darker. Solid second half.

Metal Like Blood in the Dark


‘Color, Heat, and the Wreck of the Argo’

by Catherynne M. Valente
Read March 2021
Recommended for Valente fans
 ★     ★    ★     ★   


It’s a little extravagant, but toned down for Valente, and her effusive description is used to good ends describing a filmmaker’s purchase of an ancient video camera.

“It only takes these weird old tapes,” someone said from outside Edie’s warm lightless innards. A friendly, well-hydrated, nicely-brought-up male voice, full of solicitude, exhausted, heartbroken, hanging in there, like the orange kitten in the old poster.”

The trouble is, the camera enables her to see things that are impossible for her to let go, and no one can convince her otherwise.

Color, Heat, and the Wreck of the Argo


The Colonel

by Peter Watts
Read March 2021
Recommended for people who are reading Echopraxia
 ★     ★   ★  


The Colonel is a quick little piece about Colonel Moore, the absentee father of Siri, main character in Blindsight. He’s on a mission (but not from God) in the jungle of Ecuador, trying to prevent the insurgents from setting up a hive network. It’s a little bit of military fiction and a little bit of sci-fi AI fiction and thoughts about what might be a hive mind. What it mostly feels like is more snippets that came later or didn’t make it into Echopraxia.

The Colonel was part of our group read of Blindsight and Echopraxia, billed as ‘1.5 in the Firefall series.’ I’d go with Nataliya’s definition: it’s chapter 0 of Echopraxia. You want to read that? Read this first.


‘With A Golden Risha’

by P. Djèlí Clark
Read April, 2021
Recommended for fans of pirates
 ★     ★    ★     ★   


A delightful story, almost novella-length, about a somewhat indulgent musician and a ship of pirates.

“‘I owe you thanks,’ he said graciously. ‘I would have starved out here. You must have been sent by the One.’ He paused and then hastily added, ‘Or the Many.’ People could be touchy about religion. Best to cast a wide net.”

Despite being published in what seems like early career, it feels very polished. The story, while largely predictable, has an interesting undercurrent of economic awareness that isn’t often present in fairy-tale, djinn-like settings. Another fine example of Clark’s skill.


‘To Be Read Upon Your Waking’

by Robert Jackson Bennett
Read April 2021
Recommended for fans of secret woods, old gods
 ★     ★    ★    1/2


Interesting, perhaps a little sad. A little predictable, dialogue a little awkward, but other than that, very good. I enjoyed almost all the words, and even though epistolary stories aren’t really my thing, Robert Jackson Bennett’s writing is. A failed Cambridge archeologist and adventure hunter writes his love from his new home, the falling-down Anperde Abbey in France.

November 4th, 1949

I am so excited. I can only imagine how you are reading this letter—- I assume you have slept late, as always, and the postman has dropped it by and you are scratching your head and squinting at it (because I do not think you ever get letters—- I cannot remember any). But before you see my name and react, my darling, just imagine this:

A forest stiller than any forest has ever been. Gray dawn light pours through the trees. They are slender, with smooth gray trunks. The sky is contemplating snow, loosing a few flakes just to see what it’d be like. And in the center of the trees, dark and crumbling but magnificent, are many columns, and part of an old, old arch.

Reminds me a bit of Mythago Wood, only a hundred times less sexist, mostly because it’s about two men. The dialogue seems a bit forward for 1949. I wonder why Bennett chose to root it so in space and time?

About thebookgator

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

2 Responses to Short Story Round Up, Part 3

  1. Stephen Fisher says:

    Thanks! I’ve added all of them to my reading list.

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