Both stories are by James Tiptree, Jr., published in the collection Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, because I can’t seem to get enough.
“The Girl Who Was Plugged In”
Dark and complicated, this story is about a young woman who yearns to touch the beauty of the starlets she worships like gods. So, when a corporation offers her the chance, she agrees to be the mental controller of a waldo, a beautiful puppet-girl who dazzles audiences and sells product. But everything comes at a price.
One of the many fascinating things about this story is the voice of the narrator, a voice I associated at first with the girl, but is clearly separate and slightly omniscient. It’s not clear who this narrator is, nor is it clear who she is speaking to — maybe us, but maybe someone else specific from the past.
“The Man Who Walked Home”
I can’t really talk about this story without giving too much away, but I can say it’s apocalyptic and portrays an array or humanity after the fall. About halfway through the story, I started thinking I wasn’t that into it and then the ending. Oh, my, the ending. And, yeah, it’s just as fantastic as all the rest of the Tiptree stories I’ve read.
Published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February 2011
A man is caught in a time loop, the same hour repeating over and over again which no one else seems to notice. A basic fun adventure, time travel story.
Tell me your short story suggestions in the comments.
I attended two awesome lit events last week. On Wednesday, I visited a friend’s college classroom with Lorenz Dumuk, where we read poetry and listened to the students read poetry. It was awesome to see a younger generation take an interest.
On Thursday, I attended friend Allie Marini Batts’ chapbook release party. She read from Before Fire: Divorce Poems and Pictures from the Center of the Universe, as well as some new works. It was no surprise to me that she was awesome.
Joining Allie on the stage, were a handful of other amazing poets — B. Deep, Cassandra Dallett, Daphne Gottlieb, Joshua Merchant, and Jaz Sufi — each one with their own powerful and unique voice.
Allie Marini Batts reading at the Octopus Literary Salon.
Me and the awesome.
What I’m Reading
I’m focusing on Don Quixote (in the midst of my short story reading) and am hoping to finish it by the end of the month. Part II is dragging a lot more than the first half did for me, so it feels like hard work at the moment.
Also still reading Everyone I Love Is a Stranger to Someone, poetry by Annelyse Gelman.
What I’m Writing
Ummmmm…. yeah… so…
I need to come up with a new routine that involves me going to a coffee shop or library in order to get actual work done, because as soon as I get home after work I slip into relaxation mode. This week’s plan is to bring my laptop to work on Tuesday and Thursday for just that purpose.
Goal(s) for this week: Finish off poem inspired by the Arabian Nights for submission to Nonbinary Review. Submit the chapbook to a few more publishers.
What’s Inspiring Me Right Now
Poets! Hearing poets read, both newbies in the classroom and professionals at the Octopus Literary Salon, had me reaching for my pen, wanting to scribble words onto the page. At one point, I even got so distracted in writing that I missed my metro stop and ended far from where I intended to go.
Available on Kindle.
This is a knock out of a short story, creepy and sorrowful. After his wife dies, Paul is drawn so deeply into his grief that he begins to see… I won’t tell you what. Burke does a fantastic job with this story, creating deep characters in a short space and invoking the feeling of grief, while also making it all so unsettling.
Favorite Line(s): “I dug deep into the pockets of my overcoat and grabbed fistfuls of patience as I watched them queue for the opportunity to be sorry.”
“Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch” by Kelly Barnhill
Published in Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2014
The widow Sorensen forms a new, if unconventional, family for herself at the shock of the local town. Though Agnes Sorensen is clearly human she is portrayed as nymph-like with a magical collection to animals and her new paramour. A sweetly romantic and whimsical tale.
Favorite Line(s): “Seeing no one there (except for a family of rabbits that was, en masse, emerging from under the row of box elders), Father Laurence felt a sudden, inexplicable, and unbridled surge of joy — to which he responded with a quick clench of his two fists and a swallowed yes.”
“Sleepwalking Now and Then” by Richard Bowes
Published in Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2014
Art imitates life or, rather, life imitates art in a theatrical play staged in a dilapidated hotel in 2060. I love the idea of a stage play that takes place over multiple days and rooms in which the audience can interact with the actors. I didn’t much connect with the characters or story as a whole, though; the ways theatre sets a stage for violence is a common theme.
Favorite Line(s): “Like many New Yorkers, Jacoby Cass saw the rising waters as a warning of impending doom but, like most of them Cass had bigger worries.”