"Her branches creaked as she walked the outer gardens"
September 1, 2020 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Four scifi/fantasy stories published this year about the strange and ordinary things (our) bodies (might) do or be: "AirBody" by Sameem Siddiqui, "The Bee Thing" by Maggie Damken, "The Longest Season in the Garden of the Tea-Fish" by Jo Miles, and "Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse" by Rae Carson. All are also available as audio/podcasts.

"AirBody" by Sameem Siddiqui, also available as audio:
Amazing how all Desi aunties are basically the same. Even when separated by vast oceans for a few generations. I mean, they fit into a few basic archetypes. There’s the genuine-sweetheart proxy mother who, in between her late-night work shifts, always makes sure you and your friends have all the snacks you need. The manipulative gossiper, who conveniently keeps details of her own children’s scandals nestled under her tongue. The nervous fidgeter who has spent three decades so worried that her basic thirty-year-old son won’t ever find a wife that she forgets to teach him how to speak to women. The late-life hijabi, who pointedly replaces “Khuda-hafiz” with “Allah-hafiz” and “thank you, beta” with not just “jazak-allah” but the full on “jazak allahu khayran.” But which of these archetypes would find it appropriate to rent the body of a grown man halfway across the world?
"The Bee Thing" by Maggie Damken, also available as audio:
Before I get in the shower, I let the water run for a few minutes and stand in the bathroom. Once they hear the water, once they feel the change in the air, the bees settle down....
I towel off and go back into my room to get dressed. Now that the water is off, the bees will come back to life. I have to decide what I’m wearing—what looks good on my pie-body, what I can squeeze into—before their droning on makes it impossible to reach a decision.
"The Longest Season in the Garden of the Tea-Fish" by Jo Miles, also available as audio:
Her branches creaked as she walked the outer gardens of the temple, checking that all was in readiness for the ceremony. The leaves on her forearms, now gone brittle, shivered in the morning breeze. Her tea-fish lay quiet at her core, conserving its dwindling energy–until a scream broke the stillness.

The tea-fish twitched, mirroring Elja’s alarm. More shouting followed from the direction of the tea gardens, and the voice was Aidjiri’s.

Elja started to run, but her ailing tea-fish could not sustain such an effort, and she couldn’t risk its strength running out, not even so close to the ceremony, so she slowed to a brisk walk along the stone-lined paths, limbs rustling with her haste. Nothing should be amiss, not today of all days.
"Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse" by Rae Carson, also available as audio on that page:
Marisol bursts in. She’s sucking air, her black skin sheened with sweat. She must have sprinted all the way from the watchtower.

“The baby’s coming?” Marisol gasps out.

“Yeah, how did you—? Just mild contractions so far. There’s plenty of time—”

She’s shaking her head. “They’ve scented you. We’re going.”

“My water hasn’t even broken!”

“Flesh-eaters are massing at the gate.”
posted by brainwane (7 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
I thought that I was basically done with zombie stories, but "Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse" has proven me wrong.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:39 PM on September 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that was pretty damn good.
posted by drewbage1847 at 3:06 PM on September 1, 2020

More short weird fiction! Lovely. I don’t think, strictly speaking, that the bee story had a plot, but even if it was plotless it was delightful.

This is raising my hopes for Short Online Sci-Fi Story September (SOSFSS - “soss-fus”).
Hm. On second thought I’ll let the mods rename my theme idea if they want it.
posted by Vatnesine at 9:12 PM on September 1, 2020

Thank you.

The Jo Miles story was great, can’t wait to read the rest.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 4:37 AM on September 2, 2020

Vatnesine, if you'd like a theme month, probably the best thing to do is to request it by posting in MetaTalk so that other users can talk about it, volunteer to help you out with it, and collectively choose a tag name!
posted by brainwane at 5:04 AM on September 2, 2020

The Bee Thing was *brutal*. Really good survivor fic.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 1:07 AM on September 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting these, brainwane. So good, esp. BMITZA!
posted by mpark at 12:10 AM on September 7, 2020

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