(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
Flash Fiction, Short stories, Novelettes, Novellas… there was a long time when I didn’t really appreciate them. I mostly associated them with those short extra stories for series which most often seemed redundant because they rarely gave new information and weren’t actually any good, at least not the ones I used to read a few years back. Then Tor.com started publishing short stories and novelettes, and suddenly I discovered a whole new world of fiction to fall in love with.
For someone who usually prefers bigger books of 500+ pages it was quite the surprise that I also love the very short kind now. They are perfect for when you lack time and want to read a whole story in just one day though. And I certainly won’t complain about there being a shit ton of stories available for free (Tor.com and Uncanny Magazine being my favorites of many sources).
The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Ben’s life and their own livelihoods.
But Benjamin Gunn isn’t a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect.
When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city.
Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible — until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars.
Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war — and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.
The Flow is eternal — but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever, three individuals — a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency — are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.
A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman.
In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible—the Children of the Next Level—and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. The future is coming and they will help to usher it in.
A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply that he and his government sought out help from ‘other’ sources, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact.
And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.
February AKA the month that broke me. A month that started out well with me reading quite a few great books and ended even better with me obsessing over Shades of Magic (watch me still doing it all through March) and being a complete and utter mess because IT’S OVER. GOODBYE. NO MORE KELL AND LILA AND HOLLAND AND RHY AND ALUCARD *sobs*