Autistic Book Party, Episode 48 and a half: Short Story Smorgasbord

Kerrie Seljak-Byrne (writing as Kerrie McCreadie), “The Knight’s Inn” (The Spectatorial, Issue 5, June 2016)

[Autistic author] A poem about search engines, sexual assault, triggers, and memory. Like the poems in Augur Magazine (which Kerrie edits), this is at heart a realistic psychological poem but with myth and monstrousness constantly flickering in its peripheral vision. If you can handle the subject matter, it’s well-done. [Recommended-2]

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Raphael Ordoñez, “Salt and Sorcery” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, August 2016)

[Autistic author] A mysterious, not-quite-human girl is marooned when her airship crashes in an unmapped salt flat. This adventure story has a bit of an anime feel to me. The visual descriptions are beautiful and unsettling by turns, and the plot is full of both charming and frightening surprises. .[Recommended-2]

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A.J. Odasso, “The Devil In Boston” (Barking Sycamores, June 2017)

[Autistic author] Elegant and menacing like a lot of the best poems about devils, Odasso imagines the devil adapting themself to East coast hipster culture. [Recommended-2]

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A. Merc Rustad, “For Now, Sideways” (Diabolical Plots, August 2017)

[Autistic author] A gritty, bittersweet story about mech-suit soldiers in the aftermath of war. I like the way the characters carefully, hesitantly support each other; like some of Merc’s other stories, the importance of that kind of support is drawn poignantly and in sharp strokes. [Recommended-2]

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Rose Lemberg, “Pollen” (Mithila Review, September 2017)

[Autistic author] A small, gorgeous poem about flowers and spaceships. [Recommended-2]

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Yoon Ha Lee, “The Starship and the Temple Cat” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 2018)

[Autistic author] The ghost of a cat is called on again to protect her dead space station from an impending attack. Extremely adorable, and terribly sad. [Recommended-2]

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Bogi Takács, “Four-Point Affective Calibration” (Lightspeed, February 2018)

[Autistic author] A story about using neurological technology to try to communicate with aliens, packed with semi-autobiographical detail. There’s a lot going on in a very short space here, but in part, this is a meditation on the non-universality of thoughts and emotions, and on an autistic character’s fear that their mind on a very basic level will not meet the standards of their own experiment. The ending is happy, though. [Recommended-1]

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