A Taste of the New Year

I’ve decided instead of reviewing a single book or story, I would rather just round up some of my favorites that I think my readers will like. This is less likely to follow a schedule. Instead, when I get to three or four awesome short stories I’ve recently read, I’ll share them with you.

I’m kicking things off easy, with a few of the big name magazines.

My Country is a Ghost

Okay, this isn’t really a taste of the new year since it was casted by PodCastle on December 29 and originally published earlier in Uncanny Magazine. But I listened to it in the new year, so I’m counting it.

My Country is a Ghost was written by Eugenia Triantafyllou. I listened to it on PodCaste, narrated by Alethea Kontis. The narration is great, so I recommend listening rather than reading, but there is a transcript too, if you prefer to read.

The story follows a Greek emigrant who has to leave her mother’s ghost behind at customs. She finds herself alone in a new country, surrounded by people who have ghosts but don’t interact with them the way people back home do.

As an immigrant, this story hit me with all the feels. I have an amazing husband and great in-laws in Bulgaria, but there are times that I just feel like an outsider to the culture. I’m lucky in that I am coming from the US. The language is easier because so many people speak English, and in general people from the U.S. is thought to be rich and powerful, so I have a lot of advantages in my immigration story. But at the same time, there is the feeling of drifting in another country, knowing I will never go back, and feeling alone.

I recommend this story to any emigrants/immigrants.

Clarkesworld Double Feature

I’m putting Intentionality by Aimee Ogden and Forward Momentum and a Parallel Pass by Anamaria Curtis together because they share some themes — mainly the exploration of humans signing their lives away to large corporations and hopes for resistance. They are both available on the Clarkesworld podcast, but I personally prefer reading Clarkesworld rather than listening.

Intentionality tells the story of a young woman drowning in debt who agrees to have a child to pay off her debt. She is supposed to raise the child until she is five and then send her to train as a miner for ten years, after which she will supposedly be free. The story touches on issues of reproductive freedom, the “ownership” of children, responsibility towards children, and some issues of surrogacy. Almost any story that deals with sci fi parenting will get my attention, but the bittersweetness of this one definitely pulled me in.

Forward Momentum and a Parallel Pass has a great name for starters. Then it opens up with a robotic marching band. As a former band geek and colorguard member I was, of course, in love from the opening. The story has a bit more hope than Intentionality. It features huge corporations that produce GM seed that can only be grown by their machines, cutting off people’s ability to grow their own food. But a robotics team from a small town is ready to take on the big bad corp by releasing free schemes for unlocked machinery. It’s a bit lighter than what I usually read, and I think I really needed some spinning robots and a bit of a love story.

It still packs a punch with its ending, though. So don’t expect to get off with no emotional turmoil.

And that’s what I have for the day. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I did, and I hope that I will get to share some more of my favorites with you soon.

If you do read them, let me know what you think by leaving a comment or finding me on twitter!


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