A Few Short Disasters

I’ve been reading more short fiction lately than I used to. Here are a few stories I’ve stumbled across and enjoyed enough to want to share. The only thread that they have in common is that the main event in each one is a disaster of some sort.

  • One Hundred Seconds to Midnight by Lauren Ring has monsters, insurance salespeople, and the impulse to make connections with complete strangers when disaster strikes. Plus the setting (the Charlotte Douglas airport) hooked me in right away; I’ve been through that airport many times, on my way to or from visiting family in the Carolinas.
  • Anyone who has ever worked for a penny-pinching, soul-stealing corporation should be able to relate to the call centre employee narrating Thank You For Your Patience by Rebecca Campbell. Like One Hundred Seconds to Midnight, the focus is on the ordinary human need to help out other people in trouble.
  • The Eight-Thousanders by Jason Sanford is about a mountain climber’s encounter with a vampire on Mount Everest, but the real story is about the toxic masculinity that drives people to take ridiculous risks.
  • Of the four stories here, The Longest Season in the Garden of the Tea-Fish by Jo Miles is one most clearly “speculative fiction.” The main character in this story isn’t human, but she’s a person who can suffer loneliness, despair, and exhaustion, and who will do whatever it takes to ensure her daughter’s survival.

Reminder: Nominations for the 2022 Sir Julius Vogel awards close at the end of March.  If you read and liked The Wordsmith, please consider nominating it in the Best Novel category. Anyone can make a nomination. The guidelines are here; the nomination form is here.

And if you’d rather nominate some other New Zealand writer’s work, do that, too. The awards are all about what the fans like, so speak up!

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