The podcasted fiction of Clarkesworld's issue 100 is a warm chunk of aural delight for these freezing days. I listened to the three below over the last few weeks and each has stayed with me. All are read by Kate Baker:
"It also ate that one picture of your old girlfriend from, what is it,
ten years ago now? The one at the beach where it was pouring rain and
she was freezing her ass off but then she got hit by that huge wave and
even though she was soaked to the skin she started laughing and couldn’t
stop, and that was pretty much the moment you fell in love with her.
The begitte was right about that one, too."
The Apartment Dweller’s Bestiary by Kij Johnson
This collection of flash stories fit seamlessly into my recent ruminations on what makes a home and the things we choose to share our spaces with. Alongside the descriptions of small, fantastical creatures, I was very into the glimpses into so many lives and so many homes.
"Bethany was baffling to me. Baffling. She was still taking
cat pictures and I still really liked her cats, but I was beginning to
think that nothing I did was going to make a long-term difference. If
she would just let me run her life for a week—even for a day—I would get
her set up with therapy, I’d use her money to actually pay her bills, I
could even help her sort out her closet because given some of the
pictures of herself she posted online, she had much better taste in cats
than in clothing."
Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer
Not generally a fan of AI stories or cats, I greatly enjoyed this humorous story about a self-aware, meddling intelligence that uses personal info to decide what is best for three sad-sack humans.
"Brother, I love him. It’s absolutely not because the world keeps hurting me."
A Universal Elegy by Tang Fei
I loved this epistolary story about identity and love. It relates the pain of trying to be understood and the intoxication of feeling so very subtly and effectively.