This week I finished reading Volume XXI of the Writer’s of the Future series of anthologies. Stories that particularly interested me were:
“Betrayer of Trees” by Eric James Stone. A stone worker with a troubled past is called to work on a new palace back near where he grew up. We learn early that he betrayed his people, but the exact details are revealed slowly. A strong central character and interesting world really elevated this story for me, and I enjoyed it.
“Deadglass” by Lon Prater. A religious father who’s duty is to capture sinner’s souls so that the ‘devil’ cannot use them faces a dilemma that makes him question the orders that he follows. This story pulled me into the imagined alternative world, and I followed the character’s story eagerly.
“Last Dance at the Sergeant Major’s Ball” by Cat Sparks. A woman has put her grandmother into a virtual retirement home though feel guilt over doing this. The story moves between the ‘real’ world and the virtual one with great ease and the characterizations made this story stand out for me.
“The Keeper Alone” by Michael Livingston. A man is cloned repeatedly so that he can maintain a starship containing a human colony kept frozen for later rejuvenation. This lonely man suffers repeated deaths and rebirths but when a pod containing a colonist fails, he finds his lonely journey interrupted, by companionship. Really enjoyed this one.
Also, as time permits I’m reading through a backlog of stories that have been nominated for awards, this year and further back.
“Act One” by Nancy Kress is nominated for a Nebula and is a fantastic story of genetic tampering, mutation in the near future and the role of the ‘misunderstood/maligned’ in society. A few surprises along the way with great characterization and a engrossing story. Well worthy of the Nebula nomination it has received.
And unrelated to what I’ve read the last week, I added up my word count production for March (ending the month early, today) and somehow even with the family being sick and all I still managed to (slightly) beat February’s word count with almost 42 000 words written in March!