Shorts

I love short stories: I read Interzone as it comes out; I (buy and) download (but sadly often don't get round to reading - I'm much better with dead tree) Apex Magazine, Lightspeed and Clarkesworld; I have quite a few short story collections on my To-Read Mountain; and I've somehow persuaded the Warrington Sci-Fi book group to read The Apex Book of World SF (which I'm looking forward to getting to grips with). Anyway, last week I accidentally left the novel I was reading at my parents so decided to grab some of them to plug the gap until it was returned.

This is all a long winded introduction to say that at the moment I'm on a little bit of a short story binge-fest at the moment.

The short story, of course, isn't unique to reading material. The fifties and sixties saw The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits as the TV equivalent of the short story collection and I am hoping to start watching these and reviewing them on this 'ere site. And of course, tomorrow night sees the return of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror.

The collection I'm reading at the moment is Adam Roberts' () Adam Robots. In his preface, he talks about wanting to write "at least one thing in all the myriad sub-genres and sub-sub-genres of SF" which mirrors my reason for loving short stories as a reader - reading different styles, exploring different worlds, finding new ideas. (And shortly after writing this, find The World of Wars a tale which throws us into the Martian side of the HG Wells classic tale and also a discussion of our own politics in Afghanistan and Iraq)

I'm about a third of the way through this collection and so far have two favourite stories from it, the opening and title story, Adam Robots a story of original sin, and Review: Thomas Hodgkin, Denis Bayle: a Life a story for which a review would add a level of meta too far (but I will say it mirrors a style one of my favourite authors (Stanilaw Lem) used frequently).

Of course, there's also the possibility to explore the same idea in multiple ways. The second episode of Black Mirror (15 Million Credits) explores the rise of reality TV in a very different way to Jodie Daber's Everybody's Got Talent(In Cabala, 2011, a collection of works from "new writers north of Watford"). In 15 Million credits, Brooker and Huq show us a world where reality TV is the escape from drudgery, in Everybody's Got Talent Daber shows us a world where the reality TV is the drudgery: for contestants chosen by universal lottery and audience.

What is important of course in both scenarios, 'reality' TV is awful.

Anyway, yeah... Short Stories, Woo!

Alex
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