It’s time to talk about my favorite pieces of short fiction published in June 2016! This month’s batch is full of science fiction short stories, including tales of memory manipulation, space exploration, and even both in one case. As for the authors, I recently reviewed Allen M. Steele’s novel Arkwright, while Jamie Wahls and Pip Coen are new to me. All the stories for this month are available to read online, and I have linked to their locations accordingly.
Utopia, LOL? by Jamie Wahls (Short Story, Strange Horizons): The writing style in this story is probably going to be the polarizing point. The narrator is a far-future human, who mostly lives her life darting through near-infinite virtual worlds. She’s serving as a guide to a newly woken human from the past, who is confused and upset by his new surroundings. Her voice is just adorable, and I loved her infectious enthusiasm. Beneath the silly narration, there is actually a bit of a serious plot driving the action of the story.
Welcome to Astuna by Pip Coen (Short Story, Apex): This is one of those clever stories, where all the details line up neatly at the end. A near middle-aged woman wakes up in a hotel, missing sixteen-years-worth of her own memories. In this world, you can gamble with your memories at a casino, though it’s uncommon to lose as much as she has. The mystery involves how she lost the memories, and what she will uncover when she gets them back. It feels kind of like a heist story, where you can see at the end how everything was arranged for the ultimate goal.
Sanctuary by Allen M. Steele (Short Story, Tor.com): This short story is comprised of a colonization ship’s logs, detailing their arrival at their chosen planet. The format of the logs gives it a certain detachment, as does the framing of it as a historical document. The story is pretty interesting though, involving an alien lifeform that spells disaster for our society’s technology. It feels like a beginning to a larger story, and I’d be in for reading more about the colonists’ experiences on the planet.