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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Flash Fiction Online #21, June 2015

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Flash Fiction Online #21, June 2015

 
"I Found Solace in a Great Moving Shadow" by Bronte Christopher Wieland
"The Man in the Basement" by Joshua Rupp
"Marcie's Waffles Are the Best in Town" by Sunil Patel

Reviewed by Jason McGregor

Flash Fiction Online presents genre readers with three original pieces this month of, as always, less than a thousand words. This month includes an SF tale worth seeking out, a slipstreamish horror story and a vague post-apocalyptic tale more likely for dedicated fans only.

"I Found Solace in a Great Moving Shadow" by Bronte Christopher Wieland

It's quite likely this story makes too many early demands for some readers in terms of its undefined lingo which is only retroactively explained and, indeed, it could have been handled more cleanly but it contributed to that cognitive dissonance and state of perplexed inquiry that some SF generates.

Eventually, it resolves to be a story about "natural" people and those with implants, as told from the point of view of a former "nat" demonstrator who involuntarily became a "'planter" but has come to terms with it. As the author likes Star Wars, a quote from Obi-Wan is appropriate where what this story tells you "is true... from a certain point of view." The semi-reliable narrator (via his change in perspective) conveys a wonderfully anaesthetized dystopia which is a walk in the park or, more precisely, a sitting on a bench in one.

"The Man in the Basement" by Joshua Rupp

If you get much out of this, you are a better reader than I, Gunga Din. This is billed as horror. A man has imprisoned another in the basement or, more likely, one man is insane in and out of the basement (though one line makes this problematic). Now on style. The short sentences annoy. Their repetitiveness also annoys. Especially in such a short story. An example follows. It also shows this story's action-packed nature.

The young cockroaches are coming out of the walls. He has killed one. The young ones are yellow, like the ends of the cigarettes I don't bring him.

While this is presumably a conscious choice made to convey state of mind, it costs more than it buys.

"Marcie's Waffles Are the Best in Town" by Sunil Patel

This is billed as "urban fantasy" but I can't say as I see why. Following an unspecified apocalypse (which is merely implicitly SF rather than explicitly fantasy), a woman filters possible entrants to her "closed forever" diner. In this story of emptiness, she lets in a lone girl and gives her some of the eponymous waffles until memories conflate with the present and cause a change of mood. If you, um, hunger for another post-apocalyptic tale of pain and loss, here it is.

Jason McGregor's space on the internet can be found here.