Monday, September 12, 2011

Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week :: What You Singing About? by T.J. Berg

I don't often give my Story Recommendation of the Week to flash fiction, but even at less than 200 words, What You Singing About? by T.J. Berg, from Daily Science Fiction's August 2011 lineup, really worked for me.

You've wondered what to give someone who has everything. Well, "What You Singing About?" answers the question: What does someone who has everything ask for in a deal with the devil?

Our protagonist is a happy person, with a good wife and children. In fact, that's all we know about him -- the only other characterization comes through his diction. So what would a very happy person most need? T.J. Berg's answer to that question is good fun, layered with irony.

Tracy Berg is an American now researching in Scotland. She has had fiction in Talebones, Electric Velocipede, and Tales of the Unanticipated. Here's looking forward to much more.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week :: Medic! by Adam Perin

Medic! illoMy story recommendation of the week is for "Medic!" by Adam Perin, from Writers of the Future, Vol. XXVII, the second of the three SROTW's I'm permitting myself to give to fellow WOTF27 winners (even though all the other winners are deserving). The illustration is by Gregory J. Gunther, reproduced here with his kind permission.

While all the Writers of the Future winners are exceptional in different ways, to me "Medic!" is the single most successful WOTF27 winner at creating a distinctive voice. The first-person narrative perfectly conveys the main character's brusque but conflicted personality, right from the opening lines:
Some guys go insane from being buried alive. I always get drowsy.
Our protagonist Sergeant Silk is a convict who was paroled because his skills as a medic were desperately needed in a bloody interplanetary war. He can go home to his fiancée if he survives long enough to save 1000 soldiers. He's currently at 995.

Adam Perin does a nice job of understandably presenting a far-future medic's difficult job. More importantly, "Medic! is a superb character study. Sergeant Silk is skilled at his work, he takes no shit from anyone rank be damned, and he is barely holding a lid on his tumultuous emotions. His story makes for gripping reading.

After sampling a host of different professions (including emergency medical technician), Adam Perin is now a diplomat with the U.S. State Department. "Medic!" is his first professional fiction sale. We'll let him retire when he gets to 1000.