Short Fiction Friday

The name alone of Mari Ness's "Love in the Absence of Mosquitos" drew me in (and cool artwork, as well). The story relies on the unconventional (to us) marriage relationships of its imagined people, where a pod of people are married to each other (or sometimes to just one person within the pod) and their interactions carefully proscribed by contract. The opening paragraph sets the stage perfectly, and demonstrates the story's intriguing invention:

When Andrea brought her new wife to the pod, the family welcomed her, of course, quite properly. And then, not intentionally, ignored her. They had issues of their own: the main huswife, their pod's Second, was leaving, taking a significant amount of the household income, and one of the more minor husbands needed significant surgery, and then they had all of the other individual and family issues that a pod might have.

It's the story of Andrea and her new wife, an artist who does not fit the social norms of her society.

For some whimsy, I'll also recommend Megan Arkenberg's "Lessons from a Clockwork Queen." I'm a bit torn between finding it great fun and finding it perhaps a bit too cutesy in places...but for the most part its whimsy carries it through in a series of vignettes about a queendom ruled be a clockwork queen. Each vignette ends with an arch moral, which fits the comic tone of the story as a whole.