Friday, December 7, 2012

Short Story of the Week (December 2012)

Each week at the Classic Science Fiction Message Board we read a short science fiction piece (short story, novelette or novella). These stories are always available for FREE online so that anyone can participate in the discussion. The stories are chosen by a different member every month, so that we get to read a variety of stories. December's stories are being picked by Melanie Ivanoff.

I'm 36 and have lived in Nashville, TN for 13 years now, which is about 11 years longer than I thought I would be here!  I grew up all over the southeast US, spending time in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and finally Louisiana. I moved here after I graduated from LSU to live with a friend of mine and just never left.   My husband and I got married this past summer and then bought a house.  I'm also just finishing my 3rd semester of my Library/Information Science Masters program at UT, so life is pretty busy.  That's pretty much why the majority of our books are still in boxes!

I got my love of reading from my parents and my preference for sci-fi and fantasy from my father.  I can't remember the first science fiction I read but I read things like the Hitchhiker's series, Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series, Michael Crichton and lots of short stories as my dad always got the big end of year compilation books.  Now, my favorite modern sci-fi tends to be things by guys like Neal Stephenson and China Mieville.  Classic authors:  Ursula K. LeGuin, Bradbury, Asimov.  I also read a lot of science non-fiction and by favorites are by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, Mary Roach and Michio Kaku.   Unfortunately, there are just too many books to read! 


Week # 1 Wool by Hugh Howey

For my first choice, I picked the first installment of Wool by Hugh Howey.  It is free on Kindle right now. My husband has been trying to get me to read it for several months now. Having read several self-published books I was a bit skeptical that it would be any good. I was presently surprised. Set in a dystopian future where everyone in the society lives their entire lives inside a silo, this first section details what happens when one man decides he wants to go outside.

Week #2  How to Make a Triffid by Kelly Lagor    

We (well some of you, I didn't get to it) read Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham earlier this year. This week's short story is inspired by the novel. It's about a young scientist who is working to create a real Triffid. Or it's about love and loss and death. I think I liked it but I am not sure. There's a melancholy atmosphere to it and a lot of anger; the first I don't mind, but the second often puts me off a story. Let me know what you think!

 Week #3 'Tis the Season by China Mieville

Happy Christmas, Merry Hanukkah, Joyful Festivus, and a Pleasant Solstice to all!

One thing that I've found searching for short stories is that LOTS AND LOTS of them are downers.  I've read through plenty where it's the end of the world or a depressing dystopia.  Or everybody dies.  I did a last minute swap of last week's story because it had gun violence and I just didn't want to put that out there.  So I looked really hard to find a happy story and even managed to get a Christmas one: 'Tis the Season by China Mieville.

In the future, Christmas has been privatized, trademarked and copyrighted.  If you want a Christmas tree, or to sing a carol, or send a letter to Santa, you better have a license!  Our narrator wins passes to take his daughter to the licensed YuleCo party and can't believe his luck.  However, they run into trouble on the way to the party....

SPOILERS: No one dies in the end!

Week #4 Loco by Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling    

So, I got busy reading and playing a new video game and posting the story just slipped my mind!  I have had a good time picking these stories out but I must admit that it was a bit harder than I had thought it would be.  I read a bunch of stories and so many just weren't right; as I mentioned last week plenty are just depressing!  I found a weird one that has a throwaway reference to another monthly read, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

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