Reviews of Short Fiction: February Edition

Each month, Daniel Haeusser reviews short works of SFT that appear both online and in print. He is an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Canisius College, where he teaches microbiology and leads student research projects with bacteria and bacteriophage. He’s also an associate blogger with the American Society for Microbiology’s popular Small Things Considered. Daniel reads broadly in English and French, and his book reviews can be found at Reading1000Lives or Skiffy & Fanty. You can also connect with him on Goodreads or Twitter.


The Butcher of New Tasmania by Suo Hefu, translated from the Chinese by Andy Dudak

Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 149, February 2019

Larry Wu, biologist and medical officer of the Vitus Bering, writes a New Confederation pardon committee a plea arguing innocence to charges of genocide for which the Confederation has detained him. Though he does not deny any of the facts in the case against him, there is more to his actions and he wishes a chance to explain. The moral issues that arise from Wu’s actions bear thinking over and would make an excellent jumping off point for discussion in classroom settings. I appreciated that the story does not go in directions one would at first expect, and highly recommend it.



Art” by Alberto Chimal, translated from the Spanish by David Bowles

The Dark Issue 43, December 2018

Somehow this slipped by in the month of December (which I still haven’t gotten around to writing reviews up on), so Rachel and I made note of it now for February. There have been several Chimal stories that I’ve read since starting this column, and also previously seen – a testimony to his prolific output. I particularly liked the atmosphere of this short story that details the deaths of the last people alive as the world is destroyed. Per the title, the story actually serves as metaphor for creation of art and how it is, or is not, appreciated.



Everyone Sleeps at Night” by Anderson Fonseca, translated from the Portuguese by Toshiya Kamei

Idle Ink, February 25, 2019

A young girl named Débora awakens at home and is greeted by Ian, the house AI. The reader soon becomes aware that all is not quite right with Débora’s family. Similar to the other shorter works this month, atmosphere dominates here, in this case one of unsettling loneliness. In retrospect, the ending could be easily expected, but I got caught up in the text too much to even notice.



For Humanity Today and Tomorrow” by Sou Saito, translated from the Japanese by Toshiya Kamei

Aphelion Issue 236, Volume 23, February 2019

Another particularly short story that covers an interesting idea of resurrecting precursors to Homo sapiens that previously thrived during climate change as a way to ensure our own genetic future. A poignant tale strengthened by staying bittersweet and brief.



A Young Man’s Fortune” by Alberto Chimal, translated from the Spanish by Toshiya Kamei

Bewildering Stories Issue 797, February 2019

A third translation by the never-sleeping Kamei, In this case a short fantasy by Chimal that addresses the human desire to know the future, but the simultaneous inability to handle such knowledge. It doesn’t do much beyond serving as a parable, but Chimal’s style captures the emotions of the characters very well.

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