I got by with my pop culture knowledge of “King Kong” (never watched it or read the full plot) in following “Shattered Sidewalks of the Human Heart” by Sam J. Miller, which assumes the film is a true story. It follows, six years after the dramatic events, the female lead and her taxi driver in an originally awkward, but heartfelt conversation about relationships and human cruelty.

“Wu-Ding’s Journey to the West” by Tang Fei plays on Entropy (and obviously on another famous story, though I still don't know that one) and tries to imagine a world where it is reversed. Unfortunately it is not very consistent in that, so overall it feels like this ‘magic’ is more set-dressing than structural worldbuilding. (And why the three generations? Is that a reference lost on me?)

“Xingzhou” by Ng Yi-Sheng starts out like a typical story of a rural Chinese migrant looking for better (or at least less desolate) fortune in the new world. Except that the destination is not America, but the eponymous Xingzhou, a fantastical city built between the stars, where the streets don't gleam like gold but like literal fire, inhabited by all sorts of entities (including the grandmother, grandzyther and grandneither of the narrator) and at some point governed by Lovecraftesque beings.

I have told you before about “Digging” by Ian McDonald, right? ( Magazine 2019, read by Kate Baker) Somehow it reappeared on my play list, and the social structure of those Mars digger colonies, with its in-cousins and out-uncles, was again fascinating – and the story isn't bad, either.

“The Carrion Droid, Zoe, and a Small Flame“ by Parker Ragland is a short sweet and optimistic story about loss and someone dealing with it. The two characters are so so different and beautifully painted with the words Kate Baker reads for magazine.

Initially, I found the “we” narration of Luis Javier very confusing, so I had to listen to the beginning of “One in a Million” twice. Then I had the hang of it, but despite all the hints it took me until the end of this beautiful and strange romance story to figure out why the author, Rodrigo Juri, employs this device throughout.

The robots in “Flowers on my Face” by Geo-il Bok are just normal people with depressions, faces, friends, burials, tragedies, hearts, respiration, genders, drinks, and so on. Why do they need to be robots then? Just to make the blunt fantasy colonialism bearable?

“Entangled” by Beston Barnett is a sweet story about romance and self-discovery. The first non-natural born citizen of Earth, a vaguely swan-like alien piloting a fully immersive android body, is looking for an ace romantic partner and wondering what that means for their self and for nature versus nurture. They have never been embodied in their native body, after all, all their senses have always been connected to their earth body through FTL WiFi.

After a long silence, today I listened to 's “The Weapons of Wonderland”. It's a weird horror story, full of three (okay, two, but one of them in two different times) characters trying to convince “you” of one thing or another. The sci-fi ecosystems of the story, a comet full of alien shape shifters and a freezing earth overrun by CO2 sequestering algae gone grey goo, are quite ridiculous.

Anaphory boosted

I finally published the fist short story from my #GliderInk project: "Someone Like You" written in collaboration with the wonderful Ana Sun.

It should help people understand - why do hackers want to modify existing technology? - in a very human way.

glider.ink/stories/someone_lik

Glider Ink is a project aiming to create a new narrative about #hacker s and #hackerspace s. Initially aimed to be a graphic novel, now a series of illustrated short stories.

#writing #story #storytelling

Aztec ritual practice (fiction) 

Behold, the Aztec Empire in all its glory as the Spanish arrive looking for gold. Behold their recently developed DC systems powering the farming robots that feed the victims of the sacrifices made to the gods. Behold “Malinche” (by Gabriela Santiago), a slave girl formerly from a good family, out for revenge. (Which is within her grasp through her intellect, at manipulating the Spanish, programming the robots, developing AC and general cunning.) Bloody, stunning!

The tropes that “To Catch All Sorts of Flying Things” by M. L. Clark does not use remind me very much of Detective Noir fiction. The protagonist Greysl is an upstanding security liaison in a stable poly relationship with regular counceling, bound to not just the laws of his own mining colony, but also to the customs of the other species/conglomerates working in the vicinity. And even his suspects are strange, but cooperative in their own limitations. A joy to listen to on .

“Amorville” by Bella Han is a classical middle class cyberpunk romance, from the office worker who has to balance her next meal with the digital entertainment she enjoys and who is about to be replaced by software tools making her obsolete via the danger of getting lost forever in said entertainment due to romantic involvement to the inevitable corporate betrayal.

Having checked both my posts and my history, the “Wizard's Six” by Alex Irvine appeared in neither. At the very start, I remembered that I had heard before about the ranger Paulus hunting the victims of the apprentice Myros. (But I had forgotten to what end, and it is nice enough to re-listen.) A commoner, you know, has only one bit of magic in them, but an apprentice becomes a wizard through bonding with six commoners and taking their magic. And this Myros is not a good guy, even for a wizard.

Oh, another requirement: I want to opt-in to new episodes downloaded to my phone, pre-download the upcoming ones in my playlist and say “play until the end of this one”/“play the next one”. I would also like to play the episodes at 1.6×speed.

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With some aggregation between my memory, my posts here, and my surviving Castbox history, I seem to be down to 240 stories or less which I need to catch up with. In 8 months, magazine will have published another 60-or-so stories, which takes me another two months to follow up with, in which time they will publish six more. So, March 2023 maybe?

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I have just extracted my listening history from Castbox. It was a bit of a hassle reddit.com/r/Castbox/comments/ and it is incomplete. According to Castbox I have heard 314 of the 820 stories published so far, but I see some of them missing.

Can you recommend a Freedroid app to move to for listening to the Clarkesworld Magazine Podcast? I want to get new episodes, download the upcoming ones in my playlist and say “play until the end of this one”/“play the next one”.

“Dave's Head” (Suzanne Palmer) wants to go to meet some other (mechatronic, but don't tell him that) dinosaurs in a mad cyberpunk world. So Cassie has to to drive him and her uncle Marty, whose mind is lost in the past in a different fashion. I don't get what the Macguffin is about (if I'm even supposed to understand), but other than that this madcrack road trip is a helluva lot of fun to listen to from 's Kate Baker.

I found “The Second Nanny” by Djuna a bit off, and I don't have a good description why. Part of it is the shift in who the narration follows, which is wobbling around trying to avoid giving away Seorin's secret but still having a need to follow her in the narration, and some other bits also feel incongruent. But I think my main problem is that it claims to be a story with humans clinging to irrational beliefs and new beings with hyperrationality. And it just doesn't show through for me.

I didn't know a narration of a documentary could work as a short story, but “In This Moment, We Are Happy” by Chen Qiufan makes for a vivid example. It has a good flow to it and doesn't feel forced. I can really imagine the video installation in place and the cuts in the film about pregnancy, the wish to have children, and the people who go about it in non-traditional ways.

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