Shorter lives

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 147Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 147 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Modern Search for the Fountain of Youth by DOUG DLUZEN, 2.561 words, ★★★☆☆

Non-fiction. About longevity and aging interventions.

Can be read for free here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/dluze…

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Two-Year Man by KELLY ROBSON, 4.692 words, ★★★☆☆

Dystopian story. Bleak society, a lab growing babies, pretty depressing, little hope.

Can be read for free at Clarkesworld here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/robso…
Or at the author‘s website: https://kellyrobson.com/two-year-man/

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Master Zhao: The Tale of an Ordinary Time Traveler by ZHANG RAN, 12.586 words, ★★★★☆

Exploration of the possible ways a time traveler can diverge from the main path. With sketches. Pretty interesting, unfortunately with an unsatisfactory ending.

Can be read for free here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/zhang…

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The Names and Motions by SHELDON J. PACOTTI, 7026 words, ★☆☆☆☆

Frankly, I didn‘t get it. Not for me.

Can be read for free here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/pacot…

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When We Find Our Voices by ELEANNA CASTROIANNI, 10080 words, ★★★½☆
„A race of bird-people is forced to save mankind from extinction. Contemplating gender, procreation, duty and intimacy through the eyes of an agender, asexual protagonist. Family, friendship, love, oppression and rebellion in a half-ruined world.“

Hm, odd. The Voices are something that is taken from the bird-people after birth. Voices provide energy. Nuclear fission? Not quite sure what to make of it. Interesting, uncomfortable. Not sure it all makes sense. I have a unscientific image of how the making of an egg could look like, but can‘t think of a way this could actually work. Worth reading just for the oddness of it.

Can be read for free here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/castr…

„Eleanna Castroianni is a genderqueer writer, poet and oral storyteller from Greece. A cultural geographer by training, Eleanna tells stories from the margins of history and the far futures of the Anthropocene. They live in Athens, Greece with a number of string instruments.“
Author‘s website: https://eleannacastroianni.wordpress.com

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Bringing Down the Sky by ALAN BAO, 11088 words, ★★★★★
Climatefic. The world has turned grey, the rich live under domes, the poor struggle with acid rain and collect clean air from high up to earn a living. USA, China, politics… Very good!

Can be found for free here

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Marshmallows by D.A. XIAOLIN SPIRES, 3430 words, ★★★☆☆
A world that has gotten so gruesome and dilapidated that people on their daily commute use visual and auditory enhancements to see a more appealing world. I did not like the storytelling much per se, but the idea was interesting enough.

She herself calls this her augmented reality holiday story at her blog

She also mentions being inspired by another short story. Although that one was even shorter, I liked it more for where it took me as a reader.

Can be found for free here

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Prequel time…

Precious Little Things: A Tor.com OriginalPrecious Little Things: A Tor.com Original by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A prequel to the magical novella Made Things. I enjoyed this prequel more than the novella.

It had a fairytale feel to it. The world was more fully envisioned than the novella. The characters remained a bit more one-dimensional though.

I liked Tam and that he wanted more for his child than he had been given. Poor guy.

The ending left me unsatisfied. It feels unfinished.

Can be read for free here:
https://www.tor.com/2019/11/20/precio…

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Bow before me, human!

Brimstone and MarmaladeBrimstone and Marmalade by Aaron Corwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mathilde didn’t want a demon. She wanted a pony.
“Ponies are expensive,” Mathilde’s mother said. “How about a nice little demon instead?”

Very cute, delightful little story. A little sad. Middle Grade, apparently? About what we want and the surprising things that can happen when we do not get what we thought we wanted.

Now I want a little demon, too! Happy Halloween!

Can be read for free here:
https://www.tor.com/2013/10/30/brimst…

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Groundhog day

The Last Conversation (Forward collection)The Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Do not read any reviews beforehand. You will get spoiled.

A little creepy and a lot ominous. Psychological horror. Our protagonist wakes up blind, without memories, restrained to one room, with the embodied voice of a doctor telling him what to do. Slowly memories return.

Desperation comes to mind, especially when the story and its secret begin to unravel.

The audiobook narration was ok. So was the story overall.

★★★½☆

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Pretty random

RandomizeRandomize by Andy Weir
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The story was pretty meh. Very formulaic casino heist story, despite the futuristic computer hardware and software. I kept waiting for something truly interesting to happen, but alas… I had expected something more exciting from Andy Weir.

I did not particularly like the audio narration either. Too breathless and emotionally over the top for my taste. It wasn‘t believable.

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