Spring into SciFi: 2020 Edition
Rating: 4/5 stars Pages: 227 Genre: Science Fiction, Short Stories Publisher: Cloaked Press LLC Release Date: April 3, 2020
This collection of short stories run the gamut of science fiction—from genetically modified interplanetary colonists, to errant artificial intelligences and even taking a short stop on comedic shorts with awkward teenage clones. There’s certainly something for everyone in this collection, and stories that will make you think, make you laugh, and some that will leave you going: ‘oh shit!’.
*** special thanks to Cloaked Press, LLC for providing me with an eARC of this collection *** So, a few of you probably know that I really enjoy short fiction. I love those short stories that somehow manage to worm into your brain and follow you around. And there are certainly a few gems in this collection. I’m gonna highlight some of my favourites, and of course, there are many more stories in this collection that I’m sure other readers will greatly enjoy! A particular favourite of mine was Executive Material by Gary Wosk There was something just close to familiar, but not quite about this story. I think it makes a great commentary on evaluations in the corporate world, and there was just something off-kilter enough to be unsettling about it. Not to mention, the sprinkle of humor in there was just fantastic. The Colonists by James Pyles was a story I didn’t expect to love, or even enjoy, to be frank. I’m Indigenous, and the constant elephant in the room for me in science fiction is colonization. But, as I kept reading, the story grew on me, and I definitely got into it. I appreciated the attempt to turn expectations on their head, and the recognition of a tense reality of any attempt to colonize another planet. And of course, that conclusion that hinted at coming conflict. Well done. The God in the Machine by Charles Venable was one of those stories that definitely falls into the category of shit Cheyanne loves, and it did it very well. I won’t say too much on it, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I loved the ending—it straight up made me say: Oh fuck. And finally, For Us by Elizabeth Houseman got stuck in my head. In full truth mode, I wasn’t super keen on it when I first read it, but then I just kept thinking about it and thinking about it. Honestly, I think there’s just something wonderfully human about the story that took me back to being an awkward teenager. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate it, and I suspect it’s one that I’m just going to occasionally think about. And now for a little bit of a truth moment, because I would’ve loved to give this collection five stars, because I do think there’s some amazing talent in there, unfortunately, for me, there were just a few stories that felt like maybe they weren’t quite there yet. I loved the concepts, but I found myself either not drawn in, or sitting there going, okay, let’s get on with it already. And that being said, I am somebody who is particularly drawn to short short fiction. If I’m reading a short story, I want it to grab me by the ears right away and not let go. So it might just come down to personal preference in that regard. Overall, I’d definitely recommend this collection to anyone who likes sci-fi and short stories! To learn more about Cloaked Press and the books they publish, check out their website or follow them on twitter @CloakedPress.
And if you're interested in preordering this excellent collection, you can do so here!