inspiration, Publications, Reviews

Short Story Reviews 3

TLDR: The Intergalactic Medicine Show has some of the most consistently enjoyable science fiction short stories I’ve found anywhere. If you read only one story, read The Sound of Distant Thunder by Mike Barretta.

I’ve received another rejection letters since my last post. I’m trying to take it as a badge of honor, but that’s not working very well. What’s working better is getting back in the game. One of my short stories is revised and better than ever so I’ve been reading new science fiction magazines to assess them as potential markets for the story. I’ve read one story in Giganotosaurus and a handful of freely available stories in the Intergalactic Medicine Show as well as many teasers for stories behind the paywall.

Reviews follow, but I have to say that the Intergalactic Medicine Show (IGMC) has had some of the most consistently enjoyable science fiction short stories I’ve ever seen in one place. I’m paying for a subscription and submitting my story to them.

Links to previous short story reviews one and two.

Reminder, my rating system is a bit quirky. There is not actually a bad rating (I never plan to give out zero stars, such stories would simply not be mentioned):
1 star – very well written, but not my cup of tea.
2 stars – Well written and interested me.
3 stars – Soooo good. I want to re-read and study this story to improve my writing, but the concept or execution or both also excite me on their own.

Minor spoilers ahead:

2 stars. Nebula nominated: Sauerkraut Station by Ferrett Steinmetz
Author-described as space station meets little house on the prairie, this story is full of great details that immersed me in its unfamiliar world. The characters felt fully realized. However, for me, the story overstayed its welcome. It is more about the experience it provides to the reader than the arc of the plot so the ending is not as powerful as it could be.

3 stars. The Sound of Distant Thunder by Mike Barretta
Inventive. Packed with character. A driven protagonist moves through a fascinating world. Doesn’t overstay its welcome. Ending is abrupt, but it worked for me. I love it.

1 star. Escape from the Andromedan Empire by Ian Creasey
An inventive extrapolation of a world with mind scans, digital personalities. I’d enjoy more show and less tell in this. It’s an engaging story that does a great job exploring facets of this imagined technology, but the ending is weak and brutally sudden.

1 star. The Golem of Deneb Seven by Alex Shvartsman
A simpler story than others I’ve read from this magazine. It’s not trying for fancy descriptions or pretty turns of phrase. Just a well written story. It did not excite me too much, but also did not overstay its welcome.

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