Daily Science Fiction – August 7–14, 2020

August 7, 2020 – “Quoth The Dragon” by David A. Gray (992 words)

Fantastic meta-story on narrative and how it shapes perception. The Dragon King and the Silver Knight are in the midst of conversation and negotiation about the tensions between humans and dragons, but the bard that accompanies the Silver Knight interjects his own interpretations that are inaccurate, but make for good entertainment. Rather than follow the conflict-driven story that the bard sings, the Silver Knight and Dragon King agree to find another way to create peace between their peoples. A great micro-encapsulation of what it means for history to be written by the winners.

August 10, 2020 – “Other Life Forms Are The Most Of Our Problems” by Anya Ow (770 words)

Depressingly realistic parody of politicians, this time in Australia, intentionally distracting people from important matters with bogus news stories. Although the story is ostensibly about fire tornadoes, the face mask that shows up throughout suggests a meta-commentary on the COVID–19 pandemic. Amusing satire with just the right amount of absurdity for a flash piece.

August 11, 2020 – “Customer Feedback (Secondhand Alchemical Goods)” by Arnav Sood (236 words)

Delightful play on the concept of the philosopher’s stone—with variations like the psychologist’s stone, economist’s stone, physicist’s stone… While some stories centered on concepts end up feeling gimmicky or without a narrative, this one manages to create escalation and an impactful ending in just 236 words. I particularly liked that the ending draws its ominous air from the details it chooses to highlight and leave out, letting the reader’s imagination run wild.

August 12, 2020 – “Every flavor of infinite…” by Robert Reed (921 words)

Fascinating piece on multiverses, written with a compelling and intriguing voice. Just the right amount of majestic touched with the personal. I love the tone the narrator takes with their younger self, and the larger science fictional ideas within. Fun stuff.

August 13, 2020 – “The Language of Wolves” by Maggie Damken (371 words)

Absolute chills! Loved the vivid, muscly style of writing, with such gems as “The sheep clotted together on the opposite corner of the field, cotton-thick as cauliflower” and “Looking into the yellow eye of the wolf was no different from looking into the sun in the glorious moment of its immaculate conception.” I really adore how Daily Science Fiction highlights narratives that excel in their extremely tiny packages. This one in particular was wonderfully mysterious, piquing curiosity and rereads.

August 14, 2020 – “The Fruits of Sisterhood” by Carol Scheina (1,161 words)

A bit of a slow build considering the length, but I loved this piece and its ending. Scheina sets the stakes masterfully in a way that makes the ending feel earned. Proof that flash fiction can span long lengths of time, and that you can show incredible amounts of character development in just one or two scenes. I loved the magical feeling of this story and its message at the end—that chasing external validation more often than not simply takes away from what you already have. Great, intimate family piece.

S. Qiouyi Lu

S. Qiouyi Lu writes, translates, and edits between two coasts of the Pacific. Ær debut biocyberpunk novella In the Watchful City is out now from Tordotcom Publishing, and ær other work has appeared in several award-winning venues. You can find out more about S. at ær website or on Twitter @sqiouyilu.

2 thoughts on “Daily Science Fiction – August 7–14, 2020

  • Thrilled to have my short – Quoth the Dragon – mentioned here, and with such kind words.

  • I’m thrilled that you enjoyed my flash fiction piece about the philosopher’s stone. It’s a very kind and cheerful review.

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