Wow does time fly by. It seems like I was just here doing this exact same thing! Well, regardless, this week's short story choice was Gray Wings by Karl Bunker. Taking place at some point between the not-so-distant and still-kind-of-far-away future, Gray Wings follows a flyer competing in an aerial race. Think wing suits but surgically attached and connected.
While competing in this qualifying race, she gets caught in the draft of a plane and crashes down on an impoverished nation that is the stark opposite from the place she grew up. *Side note - I read this story prior to the "shit-hole nations" tweet that was spoken with such class and sophist--ugh, I can't even be sarcastic about this stuff anymore. Anyway, now that I'm revisiting this story after that incident, it's relevance has been renewed and it goes to show that good quality science fiction (and fiction in general) illustrates aspects of our lives and the world that we may not see all the time.
So, in the story, our flyer crashes down and befriends a son and his mother who live on a struggling farm. Repeated offers of money in exchange for assistance go unanswered, illustrating the noble, yet sometimes harmful characteristic of pride. And while that is one side of the coin, the other side that the reader can take away from these interactions is the very real barrier (though invisible) between people from different cultures, backgrounds, and lives. Things one person takes for granted could be something another individual scratches and claws for.
Though first being published almost half a decade ago, Gray Wings is still so relevant it could have been written and published yesterday. It was a great short story that captured and illustrated a side of humanity that still needs so much work. I strongly recommend people read it for the timeliness. Clarkesworld Magazine reprinted the story in 2016 and it can be read (or listened to) for free here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/bunker_03_16_reprint/
And that's it for this week's short story reflection (review?) I'm still trying to figure out what I want to call this endeavor. Maybe I'll have it figured out next week when I talk about Lynn Coady's short story Play the Monster Blind out of The Penguin Book of Contemporary Canadian Women's Short Stories which I picked up in Halifax either last year or the year before. Taking a break from the science fiction and fantasy side of things, this short story was extracted from Lynn Coady's 2000 collection of the same name. See you all next week!
Alright, so in my last post that lasted all of .7 seconds I promised a more in-depth update especially seeing as the year is half over and I haven't talked about the second quarter reading catalogue! And seeing as I just finished the best book I've read so far this year, I guess we'll start there.
My goal this year is to read 24 books and though I'm a little behind I am nowhere near as lagging as I have been in the past. I just finished the 10th book of the year which puts me at 42% and just two books behind schedule. When I last left off, I believe it was either with Agents of Dreamland or Rupert Wong and the Ends of the Earth. I could go back and look at the old post but I'd have to draft this one click out, find the post, yada-yada whatever. Okay so random fire two-sentence reviews:
Okay, now that we have that out of the way: things are progressing. Subs are out. Drafts are done. Good things be happenin! If you're across the pond keep you're eyes open. A member of the street team is country hopping through Europe and is planning on Emma Watson'ing a couple copies of the book. So, if you happen to stumble upon it wherever it is hidden, tag myself and Owl Hollow Press on social media and I'll reach out with something special to send you.
So it's officially summer and I am significantly behind on my reading goal for the year. And it's not even that big! Seriously, how hard is it to read twenty-four books in a year? For some people this is probably something they can pull off in a month or two. Apparently (and if we look at previous reading challenges of years gone by to confirm this) it's a monumental task for me. . . .
I blame Playstation. Except I love Playstation so no I don't. : )
It's not like there aren't twenty-four books that I want to read, there's probably at least twenty at my house sitting in the to-read pile. One major shift that has happened though: while I used to finish (or at least try extremely hard to finish) every book I started, my threshold for tossing a book aside has widened. If I don't care about the main character by the hundredth page then I'm out. If there are pages and pages and pages of expose that just drag on and on and on then I'm done. I love Stephen King but I could NOT get through The Stand. I tried and then I tried again. And while the book started off awesome, I got to around the 300th page and I couldn't do it anymore. It's not a length thin. I devoured Under the Dome in less than a week. I just couldn't get into The Stand. Same thing with the second book of A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings. No, I don't watch the show.
I've been getting better at balancing things though. I only have two or three things going in each of my multimedia addictions. So, no new books until I start getting through the ones I already have! I tore through Max Barry's Lexicon in about two weeks. Talk about great. There's a reason it won a bunch of awards and was recognized by both Time Magazine and NPR.
Anyways, that's my rant. Maybe I should put down the laptop and pick up a book?