I have been reading tons of short fiction lately, so I have a bunch of new stories that I enjoyed and want to recommend. These are all short ones, so you might as well read them all!
“Little Rattle Belly” by Mae Empson from Enchanted Conversations: A Fairytale Magazine. Before this year, I don’t think I knew that I liked fairy tales. But after recommending three of them in the past couple of weeks, it’s probably time to admit that I do. I think part of the reason is that fairy tales are one province of fantasy where the problems of ordinary folks (wood-cutters and wool-spinners) often take center stage. This story puts a weaver into the story of Rumplestiltskin, with creepy results.
“Twenty-Seven Rules for Coping” by Michael Haynes from Goldfish Grimm. A creepy and quick tale, this one about coping with unusual powers. It’s a story about the effort it takes to pass for “normal” when you are very different indeed.
“Tomorrow’s Dictator” by Rahul Kanakia from Apex Magazine. I really love stories that spend time in forgotten corners of the universe of speculative fiction. This one takes place at a human resources convention in a near future where a few simple “adjustments” can turn people into model employees (or cult members).
“Into Place” by Alter Reiss from Redstone Science Fiction. Another unexpected little journey into a side pocket of the near future. In this world, craftsmen with the ability to put people into individually designed trances have the ability to affect the outcome of all sorts of human interactions, including the custody battles of divorcing couples.