Friday, March 4, 2011

Short Stories Are Great

I've really been enjoying short stories of the science fiction variety lately. They always seem to have a fast-paced, haunting quality to them. I think that's because the reader abruptly enters the story in the middle; there's no real intro or conclusion, and hardly any information about what's going on. This creates a mysterious vibe which is really fun.

Frequent readers of Unity Politics will know that I regularly post sci fi short stories (for a full list, click the 'Information Nexus' label on the sidebar), most of which come from this fantastic anthology. Another incredible collection is William Gibson's Burning Chrome. It includes the architecture-themed story The Gernsback Continuum, (which coined the term 'raygun gothic') and Hinterlands, a story about a futuristic cargo-cult society. The latter is probably the creepiest and most powerful short story I've ever read.

Most recently I've been immersed in the environmental-themed dystopias eerily imagined by Paolo Bacigalupi. Pump Six, an anthology of short stories, paints a grim future: immortal post-humans reflect on the discovery of an un-modified dog tenaciously surviving amidst a toxic mine-scarred landscape in The People of Sand and Slag; a black-market farmer harvests crops using illegally-obtained water from the drought-devastated Southwest U.S. in The Tamarisk Hunter; tyrannical agriculture corporations rule a post-petroleum world through genetically-engineered crops and industrial plagues in The Calorie Man; refugees fleeing their climate change-ravaged homeland struggle for survival within a socio-economic underclass in Yellow Card Man. Read these last two award-winning stories here.

If anybody has any suggestions for other good short stories (sci fi or otherwise), I'd love to hear them!

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