Cool Story, Bro: Favorite Stories and Poems, Jan-April 2019

A.D. Harper, “Unknown Search Terms” (Strange Horizons, Jan 21)

I love this apt, quirky take on the different kinds of visitors that a website receives, told using the metaphor of visitors to a house. What strange online worlds we inhabit, indeed.

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Mina Florea, “Remember” (Strange Horizons, Jan 28)

I am a sucker for shapeshifter tales. This poem tells the poignant story of two Romanian orphans, one a shifter and the other apparently normal, navigating the difficult political shifts within their country as they grow.

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Sabrina Vourvoulias, “Teeth” (Fireside, January)

Fireside’s new poetry section is starting with a bang. I love this swift, fierce, fast-moving poem that marries real-world political protest to monster folklore, complete with Spanish rally chants. None of its punches are pulled and none are even a little undeserved. (If you don’t speak Spanish – as I don’t – then running the chants through Google Translate when you get to them is recommended. They’re great.)

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Jamie Wahls, “Truth Plus” (Strange Horizons, March 18)

Heartbreaking and thought-provoking, this apocalyptic science fiction story asks deep questions about the value of hope and mercy in a world where humans are, realistically, one hundred percent doomed. Instead of giving in to nihilism, Wahls presents a more nuanced, ambiguous picture of what it means for there to be meaning in a hopeless situation, and what other ethical rules we might break in order to find it.

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Hester J. Rook, “All The Fishes Singing” (PodCastle, March 19)

Hester’s writing is so vivid and sensual in this dreamy story about merrows, queer women, and the sea. I cannot get enough of it.

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