Just Love presents:
Do you think it’s hard to find the great short stories in the flood of everything that’s available online or in anthologies? Or maybe you want to dip your toes into reading short stories but don’t know where to start?
Well, we hope to help you out with that.
Or maybe you just want to talk to us about the short stories we’ve read and like to join us in squeeing over them and tell us your own favourites?
Either way, this new column is (hopefully) going to be a regular one here on Just Love and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Talking about and sharing books is, after all, one of our favourite things to do.
In Angel of the Blockade, by Alex Wells, we meet Nata, an isolated, smart and independent smuggler. She is blind, queer, and, as we slowly find out, has a past full of loss.
Nata realizes who her family is by making a detour through an ethically complicated space adventure.
We see some fascinating technology through which Nata is able to merge with her surroundings: two sentient beings, her so-called Traveler and her ship.
The universe is complex and the story gives a deep enough sense to satisfy but leaves room for more elaboration and more stories, which I would totally read.
I enjoyed this a lot and I will be looking for other stories by the author.
Tags: Queer character, trans character, disability, space, religious prosecution, violence
While the title may sound like a sugar-fueled breakfast, Magically Delicious, by Nicole Kimberling, is actually both magical and delicious… in that it introduces us to an intricate urban fantasy world, and I devoured it only to be left craving more.
Keith is a special agent who specializes in food-related cases. Only, he doesn’t work for the FDA… he works for NIAD, the NATO Irregulars Affairs Division. And his culinary cases may involve fairies, leprechauns, or other creatures not from our realm. But when his boyfriend, a goblin named Gunther, gets hurt, Keith is on the case.
What I love about this short story is how Kimberling manages to hint at a gorgeously complex world with just the right balance of details and teasing. The world building never bogs down the plot. The characters are interesting and complex. And the writing is riveting.
Originally part of the Charmed & Dangerous anthology, this story can now be found as a stand-alone. And once you get your fill of Keith, Gunther, and their world, you can go pick up the Irregulars anthology, which expands the NIAD universe with four perfect short stories.
Tags: M/M, urban fantasy, law enforcement, drama
The Kissing Booth Girl tells the story of a young woman who finally dares to reach for the stars. Set in a steampunk world and within a carnival of sorts, Beni has a lot of trouble to believe in herself because her gender and ethnicity are reasons for discrimination. When an angel falls from the sky, it sets Beni’s awakening in motion.
The story is part of A.C. Wise’s short story collection The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories, which I can heartily recommend as well. Highlights so far are For the Removal of Unwanted Guests, an eerie tale in which a witch invites herself into the new house of an isolated man, and Evidence of Things Unseen, a voyeuristic erotica of the darker kind.
Tags: Lesbian character, steampunk, clockwork, growing up, discrimination
There’s only one word for The Tea Dragon Society, by Katie O’Neill: delightful.
Greta is learning how to blacksmith from her parents when she rescues a small dragon in the local market. It turns out the dragon is a rare Tea Dragon belonging to one of her neighbors, and returning the dragon to its owner introduces her to a new species, new friends, and a new outlook on life.
The lush images and well-placed flashbacks build an expansive world of goblins, humans, and other beings, where love and adventure reign above all else. I think some might say this is a story for children, but I think adults can really appreciate this story, especially Greta’s interactions with her parents and with Hese and Erik.
Tags: comic, fantasy, friendship, queer characters, disability, dragons
Now it’s your turn…
Have you read any of these stories yourself, then what did you think? Which of these sound the most interesting to you or can you recommend a good story yourself? We are always delighted to hear from you!