Note: Microverses reviews only speculative fiction 1,200 words and under.
May 22, 2020 – “We Speak with the Raven Men” by Alexis Ann Hunter (1,454 words)
May 25, 2020 – “Be Nice to the Butcher” by Danny Macks (373 words)
Short piece about a bar patron meeting a butcher and being creeped out. The implication by the end is that the butcher processes human meat. Solid piece, nothing particularly unexpected, writing is sparse and stylistic, rendering atmosphere and emotion well in the few hundred words of story.
May 26, 2020 – “Perilous Blooms” by Beth Cato (953 words)
Poignant story about a world where anyone with powers like healing or telekinesis are taken from their families to fight on behalf of the Syndicate. Young Nezra’s mother Pella is on the verge of dying, and she tries to heal her with her budding powers. But both Pella and the narrator, Nezra’s grandmother, know that doing so would expose her. The narrator and Pella must grapple with the difficult decision of letting Pella go in order to save Nezra. The world and stakes are quickly established, leading to a powerful ending that feels particularly resonant in this pandemic where families have had to make similar difficult decisions about witnessing people die.
May 27, 2020 – “Different Kinds of Heroes” by Michael W Cho (671 words)
Bron’s lizard companion, Lunnie, complains about his “plot armor,” explaining to Bron that a hero can’t die in their story. Bron, emboldened by the knowledge, charges recklessly into perilous situations and survives to kill the Lich King. But as soon as he puts on the king’s crown, Bron is cursed and must amputate his own arm to escape alive. Now a one-armed warrior, Bron is no longer able to save the princess and ends the story as a tragic hero. I liked the lampshading and comedy, but I was disappointed to see amputation/disability treated as a humorous plot twist.
May 28, 2020 – “A Hook, An Eye” by Erin Strubbe (1,487 words)