Short Fiction Sunday

I love Samantha Henderson's "Beyond Calais" from a couple of weeks ago in Strange Horizons. It's a story of wild airplanes and those who try to tame them and press the beasts into military service. It's more than that,of course, with a lot of fun and thought-provoking things going on, but I think as soon as I realized these were engine-driven, propeller-powered airplane-beasts, I knew it was my kind of story. It could have easily become cutesy, but instead it's an accomplished and entertaining story.

Another excellent story of late is Catherynne Valente's "A Hole to China" in Lightspeed. There's an Alice-in-Wonderland sense of whimsy to this story of a girl who discovers a way into a bizarre underworld. A lot of times when stories seem to aim at the same nonsensical dream-world that Lewis Carroll led us doesn't seem to work well. You end up with nonsense without anything more, or you end up with a pale imitation. But Valente succeeds in this story at creating a story that holds together and doesn't seem derivative.