“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.  No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.
Robert Frost

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More short stories from Daily Science Fiction! This week was just okay as a whole. The five stories included two stories told in second-person, a mermaid story, an AI story, and a story where a woman takes clingy to an ultra level. Quite the variety! Go, DSF! Of the five, the AI story stands out the most, and the other four were nothing outstanding. None were dreadful, just two of them I wasn’t clear on things, another story was overshadowed by the format, and the other didn’t have huge characterization. All written by writers with great talent. But if there’s one thing you may learn about me quick, I strive for lots of character development and understanding motivation. Not saying everything I write is deep in characterization (as some stories aren’t meant to be and are just meant to be fun or experimental) but as a whole, that’s what I enjoy.

Onto the stories!

April 15, 2013
Never Leave Me
by Michelle Ann King (her website)
I enjoyed the prose, but I’m on the fence regarding the actual story. It’s about a woman named Katrine who never wants her husband to leave her, so she goes to the witch of the town. Already sounds a little psychotic, right? I think the story could have been much more suspenseful, more shocking, and more clear. I am still unsure what exactly happened in the scene with Katrine and the witch. It’s completely possible I missed something though. You can read Never Leave Me by clicking here.

April 16, 2013
Legerdemain
by Gabriel Murray (his blog)rose maze
There’s been quite a bit of second person stories coming my way. And this one kind of fell flat to me. Perhaps I’m really picky with second-person stories, but I think it would’ve read better in first or third person. Claude is an illusionist who seems to have set his eyes on the Spencers. I do like the title; it fits perfectly. As for the twist at the end, “Misdirection,” as Claude stated several times in the story, is what I felt happened to me as a reader! To a degree it’s good but to another degree I find myself wondering if what I’m thinking happened happened. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it. So, I didn’t quite grasp the ending. I don’t think… Maybe you can though. You can read Legerdemain here.

April 17, 2013
The Chosen One Can’t Lose
by Sean Vivier
A second second-person narrative for the week.  The main character is the chosen one, the Champion of Light, and this details his journey. You know those “choose your own adventure” books you read a page or so, then it gives you a couple of options, then tells you which page to skip to depending on the option you chose? That’s how this is written. I applaud Mr. Vivier for choosing to write the story in such a format. The author kind of flips the “choice” aspect on its head though, giving a nice twist and an adamant statement towards the end. Although I personally believe that each choice we make makes a difference and you can choose to not fulfill your destiny, I really liked how this story delivered the alternative. And it isn’t preachy at all.

With that said, I think the manner in which this story was written felt too broken up. The format, to me, took away from the story. And although the message somewhat redeemed it in the end, the story itself felt like the backdrop. I think the formatting swallowed the short story. Maybe if it was a longer piece, and it had more time to develop, I would have enjoyed it more. You can read The Chosen One Can’t Lose here.

April 18, 2013
What Merfolk Must Know
by Kat Otis (her website)Ursula
This was touching in the end, although in the beginning I felt dragged from scene-to-scene without much character development, and that’s a big thing for me. But once the “stories” of a previous mermaid who bargained with the sea witch was mentioned, I pretty much stayed afloat. The story focuses around what the merfolk call a deathship — a ship that spews chained men and women into the ocean. The main character is curious and wants a human to love, no matter if it later brings her heartache. She goes to the sea witch and bargains… I suppose we can chalk this up to my mind simply being curious, but I wondered what did the sea witch gain from the bargain? What did the main character have to give up? In The Little Mermaid, the sea witch took Ariel’s voice. And I’m not saying this sea witch had to follow in Ursula’s steps, but it crossed my mind. The story didn’t quite have the depth of character I like, but it’s a good story to read nonetheless. You can read What Merfolk Must Know here.

April 19, 2013
Paradise Left
by Evan Dicken (his website)
The story tells the story of a world where AIs are the government and rule Earth. Everything is in order — money, issues, and no harm can befall humans. However, there is a group of rebels who want it back to pre-Singularlity. They want real scotch, they want real weapons, they want real wars, they don’t want the machines protecting them. The story hones in on Rob and Ashley — Rob used to be in the rebellion, Ashley still is. Conflict. Very good story. You can read Paradise Left here.

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