I’ve been reading short stories lately, some familiar, some not, for both enjoyment and to think about what makes a good short story work. It’s not a universal formula, but I do find that I gravitate to stories that typically have a strong central character or a premise that speaks to me, either because it’s fantastical or because I can relate to it in some way personally.
In no particular order, here’s three stories that struck me this week. No spoilers. The stories are short enough that you should really go read them yourself.
The Mathematics of Fairyland, Phoebe Barton – The language in this story is just lovely. It’s a wonderous blend of space and fantasy in most unexpected ways.
All the Flavors: A Tale of Guan Yu, the Chinese God of War, in America, Ken Liu – The painful history of Asian discrimination in the West is the basis for this story. Liu is one of my favorite short story authors (I recommend “The Paper Menagerie” frequently to non-SF readers as a way to try and lure them toward speculative fiction).
Proof by Induction, Jose Pablo Iriarte – I won’t at all be surprised if this story about the dynamic between a father and son before and after death wins awards this year. It’s just that good.