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“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say  ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
C.S. Lewis

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More short stories from Daily Science Fiction! Last week when these stories were e-mailed, one of the days Daily Science Fiction mentioned my blog, as well as the blog Songs of Eretz. Both of us review their stories, so they just gave us a nice plug. Very appreciative! What a privilege!

Onto the stories!

April 22, 2013
Snippets
by k. b. dalai
The story is written by a husband and wife team, and I must say that they started this story off with such anticipation of what was to come next, it reeled me right in! Roger’s an intercept analyst who works for NRO. One night his boss visits his home and drops an attaché case in front of him and lets him know that whatever he discovers, he is to report it directly to the president.

After that, it kind of dwindled. I didn’t understand why Roger would show the information to someone without clearance, and the ending of the story didn’t seem to end. It just appeared to trail off. Which would have been fine, as some stories work better that way, but I didn’t feel that this story presented anything other than a question. You can read Snippets by clicking here.

time travelApril 23, 2013
Grief in the Strange Loop
by Rhonda Eikamp
Quite a story. It involves time travel, and it gives a twist to a father being absent in the household, which I believe does have bearings on how the family is as a whole. While I liked the intertwining of multiple aspects of the story (absent father, father complex, a son you never knew) it seemed more summary to me than story. Perhaps because the author introduced so much potential for a larger piece of fiction. There is a lot more story that could be told. You can read Grief in the Strange Loop by clicking here.

April 24, 2013
Swan Song
by Melissa Mead (her website)
Melissa Mead is a skillful writer and very imaginative. I could say that all day. This story, however, I didn’t connect with. It felt so much like exposition and not really a story. There were characters but they didn’t come off as people. And I don’t know what fairy tale this is a derivative of either (but that’s on me). You can read Swan Song here.

April 25, 2013electric
The Lady Electric
by Gary B. Phillips (his blog)
This story wasn’t bad. The tone was mellow but it wasn’t boring. The story was slow but it didn’t drag. I think it was a very good balance. It’s a story about a lady who is basically electric, and a man named Edison gets hold of her and puts her in his laboratory, powering cities with her power. The main character, a man the reader only knows as “Mr. Atwood,” knew her before her captivity, loves her, and wants to see her free. Worth checking out! You can read The Lady Electric here.

unicornsApril 26, 2013
Chasing Unicorns
by Terra LeMay (her website)
Starting the story mentioning unicorn hunters? WIN! Immediately afterwards being introduced to six people in three paragraphs? Rather off-putting. The story isn’t for the faint of heart, as it really does deal with hunting unicorns. It’s a bit on the graphic side, but I personally didn’t think it was overly so. Anyways, the main character is Shay, a guy who knows his way around processing illegal substances. And unicorn horn (and therefore hunting unicorns) is not legal, even though it is an antidote to poison and not a drug. One thing I liked about this story is the analogies used and the fact that unicorn hunting is not so simple. The unicorns have a very interesting defensive mechanism that appeals to people’s emotions. Worth the read if you’re not squeamish. You can read Chasing Unicorns here.

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“Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s plot.”
Leigh Brackett

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Science Fiction & Fantasy Saturday is…a web ring of authors who post snippets of their work for comment. In reality, it’s a close-knit group of friends and colleagues working together to support and encourage one another and promote the science fiction and fantasy genres. I am just one author in the midst of awesome authors. To read other snippets, or learn how to join us, visit scififansat.blogspot.com!

This week I’m sharing another snippet from my Work In Progress, April 11, 1978 (tentative title). Click here to read the first snippet.

Marc stood and twisted the cylinder until it became two pieces. One side was hollow, the other side a needle the length of a pushpin. He scrutinized the needle with a scoff but he knew it was necessary for his façade not to fade away during the night.

“Caaaasey, I’m waiting…” Monica called from the bedroom.

His eyes darted to the bathroom door and rested in the fact it was still shut.

She called him Casey. That’s who she saw at dinner; that’s who she followed into the hotel room; that’s who he had to stay for at least six more hours.

Marc eyed the mirror, his focus on the needle he held at eye level. “I’ll be right there,” he called to Monica.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet! And be sure to check out other snippets by the other authors at scififansat.blogspot.com.

“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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To sign up for Daily Science Fiction’s mailing list, visit DailyScienceFiction.com and subscribe for free! Every weekday you’ll get a brand new story in your inbox (a week before it goes up online).

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.
George Eliot

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My bud Alex Kane was accepted into Clarion West! For those who don’t know, it is a six-week workshop (focused on speculative fiction) located in Seattle where eighteen people are picked per year to learn from a combination of instructors. This year the instructors are: Elizabeth Hand, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Margo Lanagan, Samuel R. Delany, and Ellen Datlow. Each instructor teaches one week.

I applied to Clarion West (and Clarion East…and Odyssey) in the past but never got accepted. When I heard that Alex was accepted, I was stoked! I know some of my blog readers probably know him, most may not. But Alex is a great writer and has been getting more notoriety recently, and I’m excited for him. He even was named a finalist in the Writers of the Future contest! I believe he really has a career in this writing world. He has passion and he has the talent.

Some of his work is published online and can be read. Just visit his Stories link on his site or follow the direct link here.

I am taking the time to write a blog post about this because I know if I was accepted into Clarion West, I wouldn’t know how things would be paid. Taking six weeks off from work and still making sure bills got paid in your absence, needing travel expenses, PLUS living expenses while you’re away on your own for six weeks. And the tuition is no small change, but Alex’s parents blessed him by paying the remainder for him. Alex wrote a detailed post about it. Check it out. He is basically asking anyone for any money they could spare to help him out. Now, I’m not turning this blog into a “let’s raise money for this writer and this writer and this writer” but I want Alex to be able to go to Clarion West without any reservations or worries. I want him to have fun, learn, and devote his entire mind on the workshop by soaking and writing and growing.

What he doesn’t mention in that particular post is that he has a Kindle publication titled In The Arms of Lachiga. If you prefer not to give money outright, purchase his e-book to support him. It includes 10 of his short stories — some previously published, some brand new. The cost is $2.99 and I know he would be appreciative.

Whatever you can do, if you feel it on your heart to do, please do.