Worth a Read – 2015 – January 1

Steve reading

In my natural habitat.

Now that my mini-reviews for Matt Potter’s ambitious 2014 project are finished, I thought I would turn my attention to a simpler task. One of my resolutions for 2015 is to read more. As I find works that seem particularly worth your time (provided your tastes are similar to mine, of course), I’ll post them here with a brief summary. If you’d like to join the discussion, feel free to drop a comment. If you’d like to suggest I read a particular work or author, let me know via the Contact Form. I don’t promise to post here every day, but I’ll do my best to post regularly. Subscribe if you care to, or just check in when you feel the urge. It’s all good.

So, what’s  hot today?

1. Daily Science Fiction – The Last Zombie by Joy Kennedy-O’Neill

Matthew works at the reference desk, and the chippy was hired as the new outreach director. I called her “the party planner,” back when I was unchanged. Puppet shows, origami days… I don’t remember anything involving actual books. She was young, blond, and everything she said ended with an optimistic uptick, you know? One day my husband said, “She has some really great ideas, you know?” And I realized that he must be sleeping with her.

This is a great re-envisioning of the zombie fad, with touches of social commentary,  literary satire, and a dash of meta-fiction. There’s an effective story too, with rising tension and an actual payoff that is quite tasty.

 2. Pithead Chapel – The Star Sisters by Corinne Sullivan

The teacher asked Magda to tell the class something about herself, so Magda told them that she knew how to time travel. She drew a diagram on the chalkboard—a tunnel with two ends, wide and flat on each end and skinny in the middle. A wormhole, she said. She went on to explain general relativity and relativistic time dilation and the twin paradox but June, who sat hunched in the third row nearly unseen, couldn’t follow. Magda wore red leather cowboy boots whose battered soles flapped open like mouths, and she had a constellation of angry pustules above her brows. June knew to befriend her would be to make life more interesting and also more difficult.

Another fine story that comments on social matters while engaging us at the character level. This is a coming-into-sexuality story about two misfit girls in Indiana. Finely observed and well paced literary fiction.

 3. Pithead Chapel – Highway by Jana Llewellyn

Lou and I have been fighting like this for a long time. He’s tired of being a secret. He wants me to tell my wife Julie about us, that I’m gay—I hate the word—that I don’t love her anymore. I keep saying I’m going to, any day, but every time I sit across from her at the kitchen table, I lose the words.

The entire issue is strong, but these two stand out (in the fiction section at least). The plot of this one is as interesting as the emotional undertow, and it comes together very powerfully at the end.




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About Stephen

I live in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania with fellow writer, Susan Urbanek Linville, and a herd of reformed feral cats.

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2 Responses to Worth a Read – 2015 – January 1

  1. gaydegani says:

    Great idea. I think I’m on a follow with you.

  2. Jana says:

    Stephen, I happened upon this today and just want to thank you for the kind words about my story! Glad you enjoyed it and thought enough of it to share on your site. Cheers!

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