Speculative Short Fiction Deserves Love discussion

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 100 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #100)
This topic is about Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 100
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message 1: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Nash | 64 comments This issue was definitely a good one.

My two favorites were Naomi Kritzer's Cat Pictures Please, and Zhang Ran's Ether.

The first is a funny look at emergent AI. I don't read funny stories often enough, and this one had me laughing.

The second is pulled me right in with its intrigue and suspense. The protagonist is an unlikely hero who gets pulled from the doldrums of his menial life to a secret, subversive group.

There's lots of other good stuff here.

Did anyone else read it?

message 2: by Ben (new)

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 12 comments Will be reading it although will wait until the second part of the Valente is out before trying that one.

Funny stories are often not given the attension or respect they deserve. Its far harder to make a story funny than do a serious one. Comedy often dates as does satire but Robert Sheckley's stories are worth checking out if you want some humor in your SF.

message 3: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Nash | 64 comments Somehow I missed that it had a second part still coming. Makes me feel differently about the story.

message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 392 comments Mod
Is it okay to comment if my name isn't Ben?

I've only had a chance to read the Kij Johnson and the non fiction so far. I really liked the Xia Jia story in Upgraded, so I enjoyed that interview.

message 5: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Nash | 64 comments I thought there was another story I read recently that had me laughing. After checking my notes, though, I'm pretty sure it was an article by Barrett Brown.

When I think about it, I don't read enough funny fiction. I want to reread The Hitchhiker's series and try Discworld. Not many sorry fiction authors come to mind except for Connie Willis.

message 6: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Nash | 64 comments Those other than Ben are welcome. (I was once in a society of Ben Nashes. There were more of us than you might think, but it didn't really go anywhere.)

I still don't know quite how I feel about Kij Johnson's entry. It's not really a story, is it? Though when the last beast's entry was the first to refer to earlier ones, it made me think I should reread the story to see if I'd missed something. I certainly liked the creativity of it.

message 7: by Sarah (last edited Jan 30, 2015 08:12AM) (new)

Sarah | 392 comments Mod
I'm still trying to figure Kij's story out. I think she said in an interview that she wanted to write a story where it was important it was in second person. She's so careful with her choices that I feel like I'm missing something if I can't see beyond the very basic story told through the list.

And I think we do have a third Ben.

message 8: by Ada (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ada Hoffmann (ada_hoffmann) "Cat Pictures Please" was SO adorable and I loved it. It is the best.

I bounced off of Kij Johnson's story a little bit just in the way that I bounce off of a lot of her work - the nonlinear structure didn't bother me at all, but I get tired of stories that are all about people being vaguely dissatisfied and bad at relationships in ways that they find difficult to articulate. Which is definitely where I interpreted the main emotional core of the story as being - that the different creatures either illuminate some facet of a relationship, or are stand-ins and metaphors for actual types of people that we have encountered.

If Kij said it was important that it was in second person, and given the final lines in the last entry, I am wondering if readers are meant to look back and interpret what kind of creature they are (if that isn't an unacceptably Facebook-meme-y way of saying it) and what their own flaws are, how they are viewed by the people who take them in, and how in turn they behave towards such people?

But I don't know, really... Like I said, this kind of story isn't really my thing.

(Also if too many people are named Ben, I am thinking of the old comic Elf Only Inn and "GO AWAY BEN" :P )

message 9: by Bunny (new)

Bunny | 327 comments Now I'm so curious about this Kij story.

message 10: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Nash | 64 comments I read the comments over at the Clarkesworld website, and one person says, "No need to mess with translations - type 'em each into a plain old Google search and you may see a common denominator."

I did a quick search with a few of the terms and couldn't find that common denominator. Apparently there's something more there, though.

message 11: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Nash | 64 comments Does this mean us Bens have to start our own groups now (e.g. Speculative Short Fiction Deserves Bens' Love!)?

message 12: by Ada (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ada Hoffmann (ada_hoffmann) So I got curious and, against my better judgment, Googled every term.

Apparently this all has to do with... yarn? "Wolle" is just the word "wool" in German. Lopi is a kind of wool, and a louet is a kind of spinning wheel. Sandnes Garn also appears to be a place with knitting patterns or something http://www.sandnesgarn.no/. Tatamy is... a kind of tweed?
Also http://www.skacelknitting.com/

I fail to see how this makes the meaning of the story any clearer; I may be barking up the wrong tree entirely.

message 13: by Bunny (new)

Bunny | 327 comments Is this the Kij story again?

message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 392 comments Mod
Bunny wrote: "Is this the Kij story again?"


message 15: by Bunny (last edited Feb 06, 2015 10:16PM) (new)

Bunny | 327 comments Okay yes, I went and read it, they are terms for yarn and wool and other fiber related things. Noro is a brand of yarn. Louet is a company that makes spinning wheels and other tools. Skacel is a wholesaler of knitting supplies. I don't think the terms are particularly meaningful, I think its just a fun little nod to a hobby that has some weird words that kind of sound like the small beasts you might find in a world where dust bunnies were alive. If there's a deeper meaning I missed it.

message 16: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 392 comments Mod
Oh! Oh! Maybe they're all fabrications?

I'm going to the pun corner.

message 17: by Bunny (new)

Bunny | 327 comments Ha!

message 18: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Nash | 64 comments In the end, it was a delightful yarn.

You started it.

message 19: by Bunny (new)

Bunny | 327 comments Oi! You're all such cards.

message 20: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 392 comments Mod
I apologize for derailing the thread.

message 21: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Nash | 64 comments Does anyone else read this as an epub. I just checked back, and the Valente story says nothing about being the first of two parts. It does on the web, though. Which makes sense. I liked a lot of the crazy vivid imagery of the story, but thought it didn't come together in the end.

message 22: by Neil (new)

Neil Clarke (clarkesworld) | 43 comments That was my mistake. We run so few serials that it slipped my mind when I was racing to get the ebooks done.

message 23: by Ben (new)

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 12 comments I see Kij added an extra "beast" for valentines day in the comments yesterday so if you read and liked her story you might want to check it out.

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