Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Short Fiction Wednesday

My Father's Singularity by Brenda Copper (published at Clarkesworld) has an illuminating take on what's become a bit of cliché in recent years. The story cleverly shows us two sides of the imminent (yeah, right!) techno-rapture, when old stick in the muds like me won't be able to tell our children from our home appliances. The narrator finds himself on the cusp of manhood just as the wave of new tech crashes. Just as he is leaving home, it happens all around him and he grasps all the opportunities it offers. When he returns home, though, he discovers his father – who has meant so much to him – no longer recognises.

The prose is a little rough here and there, particularly at the start, but it's still a wonderfully poignant story that keeps the loving relationship of a father and son at its heart. It outlines what we stand to lose in the rapid uptake of technology, without becoming a dire warning or a propaganda tract. It presents both sides in an even handed way, a beautiful exploration of ideas rather than a harangue.

This weeks second story comes from a new webzine called Lightspeed. These guys have hit the ground running, with an excellent publicity campaign that saw them prominently featured in i09, and elsewhere online, announcing their arrival. They have, correspondingly, garnered quite a bit of attention – well done you Lightspeed folks!

If this story  is anything to go by, this could be one to watch. I'm Alive, I Love You, I'll See You In Reno by Vylar Kaftan is a beautiful, poetic story of love and separation that effortlessly weaves it's science fictional elements into the characters' lives through incident and metaphor. It's a wonderful poetic piece that I found absolutely breathtaking.

Between them, these two stories offer a fantastic lesson in using relationships in SF stories in a convincing way. Very often, stories of this type clumsily spread relationships over a concept without the two ever quite meeting (I've written a few like that myself). Here, the two are intimately entwined, the one growing out of the other as naturally as in life.

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