Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Thoughts on the SCKA Short Work Nominees


Since this seemed to be the quickest SCKA category to get through I decided to tackle the short works first. I'm easing into the whole thing. Dipping my toes in before I jumped into the large time investment required to tackle the novel categories.

All the stories nominated are of an exceedingly high standard and you can't fault any of them on quality. In the end it all boils down to personal taste and if a story resonates with you or not. Since these aren't really reviews as such, I'll settle for just sharing some quick thoughts on each story. 

Do Not Look Back My Lion by Alix E. Harrow
I love Alix E. Harrow's work and this story is no exception. It tells the tale of a society devoted solely to war and the impact it has on those that are left behind having to face the reality of pledging their children from birth to the machinations of bloodshed and death. Interesting role reversals in gender dynamics and a very touching relationship at its core. A melancholy yet hopeful read.

Doll Seed by Michele Tracy Berger
An interesting take on racism and prejudice mirrored in the lives of dolls. Interesting concepts, but perhaps somewhat too long. My interest flagged towards the end.

In Regards to Your Concerns About Your Scare BnB Experience by Effie Seiberg
 A client representative deals with a disgruntled client after a disastrous stay at a BnB. A fun, lighthearted story which delivered a giggle and a few smiles. Compared to the other stories on offer it lacked impact.

Even When The World Has Told Us We Have Ended by Cat Hellisen
 After the world has ended, a living human becomes the Muse for the dead, downloading inspiration into their reconstructed minds. Beautiful, haunting prose and a story that's quite unlike anything I normally encounter. This story can be read and interpreted in so many ways and that's where its power lies.

The Ocean That Fades Into Sky by Kathleen Kayembe
 This is the only story that just didn't work for me and I can't exactly pinpoint why. I lost interest halfway through. Might have to come back to it at some later stage.

The Blanched Bones, The Tyrant Wind by Karen Osborne
Short, sweet and powerful story about seizing your own destiny and throwing off societal expectations.

In This Moment, We Are Happy by Chen Qiufan
A look at the changing face of reproduction and what the future might hold. Touching and thought-provoking in equal measure.

Black Matter by Vivian Shaw
Necromancy meets Air Crash Investigation. A dark, enjoyable tale with engaging writing and fascinating premise

This Book Will Find You by Sam Beckbessinger, Lauren Beukes & Dale Halvorsen
Magic. Blood. Mayhem. A very dark, horrific tale dealing with the cycle of violence in an abusive relationship. Wonderful twist in the ending. Absolutely freaking loved this story!

The Migration Suite: A Study in C Sharp Minor by Maurice Broaddus
Tracing the journey of a family throughout its many generations throughout the past and into the future. A touching look at reclaiming your freedom and finding your home.

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Have you read any of these? Which stories were your favourite?

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