The trap of doing a lot of writing is that, to make time for it, it’s a logical conclusion to start reading less. This isn’t the most brilliant strategy. It’s like trying to fuel your car by building a bunch of new cars.

So I’ve been trying to read more short stories lately. Aided by my birthday Kindle, in the last couple weeks I’ve read M-Brane SF #24. I’ve gotten my first exposure to Charles Stross in “Overtime.” I read The Aether Age. Mostly through Twitter links, I’ve picked up a few scattered stories from sites like Lightspeed. Oh, and after getting a subscription for Christmas, I received my first issue of Asimov’s; so far I’ve read John Kessel’s “Clean,” which I liked, and Neal Barrett, Jr.’s “Where,” which I didn’t–too underexplained, too little happening. (Though Barrett’s distinctive enough that I know I’ve encountered his work elsewhere and thought it was great.)

I’m aided in my quest to resume reading by Rise Reviews, a new site dedicated to coverage of stories from magazines and anthologies that don’t qualify as an SFWA professionally-paying market (i.e., they pay less than 5 cents/word). A strong review led me to Nadia Bulkin’s “Lucky You” in Ideomancer.

I’m glad I checked it out–it’s a cool, eminently readable piece about an immortal living through the modern age, the apocalypse, the quiet afterward, and the slow accumulation of change. I’m somewhat ambivalent about its fantastic underpinnings, but it worked. I liked it. I liked it well enough to click over to Bulkin’s bibliography, which I hope to follow up on as soon as I finish up my weekly deadlines (and get settled into a new freelance gig I just picked up–who knew, there are more opportunities in big cities).

A lot of short stories, I’m not too hot on them, or I admire the author’s craftsmanship but am not inspired to search out their other work. Rise Reviews pointed me in the right direction. For me, at least, they’ve already justified their existence: there’s good fiction out there beyond the pro zines. Sometimes, you just need a little help to find it.

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I am a Science Fiction and Fantasy author, based in LA. Read More.
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