February 9, 2016

9 weird & wonderful science fiction & fantasy short stories


In my continuing quest to read as much new and fabulous science fiction and fantasy as I possibly can, and shout about it on the internet, I’m sharing these nine short stories you can read online right now: weird, wonderful, and highly recommended.

St. Dymphna’s School For Poison Girls, by Angela Slatter at tor.com. Over the last year I’ve become a huge fan of Slatter’s writing, and this short story from her book ‘The Bitterwood Bible And Other Recountings’ just confirms my love. A bit of fairy-tale mixed with a dose of murderous schooling, some magic, lots of various poisons, and girl-ish intrigue… an excellent read.

How the God Auzh-Aravik Brought Order to the World Outside the World, by Arkady Martine in Strange Horizons. This thought-provoking fantasy story is told in the style of an ancient myth. I really love how Martine captures the feel of mythology while telling an original story that is quite trippy and far-out-there.

Wooden Feathers, by Ursula Vernon in Uncanny Magazine. This amazing and satisfyingly weird story totally went somewhere I did not expect: I won’t say too much about it, but it does involve woodcarving and ducks…

Between Dry Ribs, by Gregory Norman Bossert in The Dark Magazine. So creepy, so ghoulishly, fiendishly suspenseful, and so darn strange: it’s a fantastic read. Word of warning: it might also cause sauna-related phobias.

In The Stars We Learned To Soar, by Leo McBride at Altered Instinct. A vividly told science fiction short story with its own original twist on the future of humanity and our fate in the solar system.

The Mama Mmiri, by Walter Dinjos at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. A tale of magic and slow-creeping horror and colonialism and revenge, and making deals with…well, not the devil this time.

Edited to add a story I just read last night:

The Scrape of Tooth and Bone, by Ada Hoffman at GigaNotoSaurus. This is a highly entertaining and uniquely imagined short story that mixes archaeology, dinosaurs, spiritualism, and…robots. Yeah. Definitely worth a read!

Also, two older short stories that popped up on my radar via social media:

Spider The Artist, by Nnedi Okorafor from Lightspeed (from 2011). Okorafor writes brilliant science fiction (read her awesome novella ‘Binti’, for example), and this short story is another gem from her. Oil, robots, artificial intelligence, environmental destruction, guitar playing, domestic violence… she weaves it all together in this fantastic scifi tale.

To the Gods of Time and Engines, A Gift, by Dean Wells from Beneath Ceaseless Skies (from 2011). A beautifully written, dark and twisted, and thought-provoking tale about a girl named Cecily who likes to hurt things: “the ghosts in the Machines had claimed her as their own“.

  (Originally published at mariahaskins.com)

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