Short Fiction Wednesday

A pair of stories this week from other ezines, which I don't always remember to read when new issues come out: ChiZine and Lightspeed.

Patricia Russo's "Turning, or Turning" manages to play on the zombie-story sense of humans changing into something else without actually being a zombie story. The sense of feeling left out that the protagonist feels is perfectly handled, the description of this non-zombie change (and Alberico's reaction to it) is engaging, and the ending adds the right kind of open-ended closure to the story. I'll admit that I was somewhat ambivalent about the story at first, as too much of a zombie story even if it's not (exactly) one...but the story won me over as I continued.

And then there's Catherynne Valente's "How to Become a Mars Overlord" which is beautiful. I'm biased, in that I've rarely read something of Valente's that I haven't fully enjoyed, but the concept of the many Marses, the inventiveness of the various overlords in history, and of course the melodic prose all combine to make memorable story. It's rather more fantastical that I was actually expecting to see in Lightspeed--science-fictional as well, of course, but more of a mythic, fantastical feel to the tone and mood of the story. Just an observation, though I'd say that it's a good thing that the new zine is casting a wide net. It certainly makes me want to do a better job of remembering to check for new stories there. And I definitely see this story as one I'll return to at the end of the year--it ought to at least be in the conversation of awards and Best-of lists.