Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Short Fiction Wednesday

Welcome to the first short fiction Wednesday here at Pointless Philosophical Asides! I haven't been reading enough short fiction recently, so I've decided to make a point of reading a story or two every fortnight and making a post about them. Or possibly weekly, I haven't quite decided. We'll see how the time goes.

I've always read short fiction, from when I was a kid reading big collections of stories from Amazing, Astounding and Galaxy, through the big magazines, the small press and now online and in the occasional themed collection. I've written a few myself, with a current published output of ten short stories scatted hither and yon. A couple of years ago I made a point of reading free online fiction, and read a lot of good stuff, so I thought I'd do that again. I'm keeping track of them for the sake of my reading log, and hopefully I'll be able to push some traffic their way and provide a litte encouragement and feedback. Having published stories myself, I know that I scour the internet from time to time seeking some kind of response, and know the joy of finding it, even if the opinion is equivical.

Doctor Diablo Goes Through the Motions by Saladin Ahmed
This is a short super-hero pardoy that hits all the right notes and has some nice character touches. The central idea is pretty good - a supervillain's schemes that come full circle, and Ahmed's dry, characterful approach, made it a bit chewier than the average comics parody, although it does feel a little bit like the sort of thing that Alan Moore might have done in 1985. That's no bad thing, though, and this short and funny story is well worth ten minutes of your time.

Biting the Snake's Tail by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This near future crime story is set in an over-populated Mexico City. It's got a strong procedural flavour as Gendarme Soledad follows up the murder of a the brass-with-a-heart bar girl. It turns out one of several girls to turn up killed and mutilated in recent months, and she appears to be on the track of a serial killer. She goes from witness to expert, attempting to pick up clues, but not getting very far. Moreno-Garcia does a good job of capturing the crowded out world of the slum where even the roads are blocked by the over-flowing humanity. In my own limited crime reading experience, it reminded me of Doll by Ed McBain, as it follows a similar line of crisp pacing and reliance on interrogation to provide a lot of the drama. I was kind of expecting it to end more conventionally, but that's not quite where it went. It took me a little while to appreciate what the story was up to, and it still feels a little like the first part a longer story and left me wanting to know more about where the case might lead her.

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