Ahoy there me mateys! Recently Matey Jess posted her “five favorite SFF short stories.” I was intrigued. Would I recognize any of them? Aye, as it turns out. I have read the following:
- “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” (Alix E. Harrow) – 2019 Hugo Award Winner
- “‘The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society” (T. Kingfisher) – 2019 Hugo Award Finalist
- ‘Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island” (Nibedita Sen) – 2020 Hugo Award Finalist
However I had never read or heard of the other two. Zombie unicorn was a must and the other sounded rather interesting too. Me reviews for both are below. Click on the titles to read the stories themselves.
Matey Jess said, “You all know I’m a unicorn girl, so I couldn’t resist immediately giving this story a try and I love how uneasy the ending is. It’s such a simple story in so many ways, but it’s excellent.”
I too was a unicorn girl before the sea stole me heart and get nostalgic for such things. I have heard of zombie vs. unicorns. But zombie unicorns? Somehow I had missed those. And dang was this so great with a perfect ending. I can’t really express much about this because it needs to be experienced oneself. But here be the first lines . . .
The good news is, zombie unicorns almost never bite. The bad news is, even a tiny scratch from a zombie unicorn horn will turn you into a zombie. Mom discovered that by accident.
Matey Jess says, “We always see portal fantasies through the eyes of a protagonist who travels through the portal, but this short story is told from the pov of someone on the other side of the portal. It explores colonialism in a way I’ve never seen any other fantasy story do, in many ways it feels like a response to The Chronicles of Narnia, and I loved it.”
Hmm the comment about Narnia was intriguing as was the odd title. I also wasn’t sure if I had read anything by the author. Well dang this was excellent and surprising and lovely and sad. This made me think. I won’t get into this much either except to say that knowing Narnia as well as I do made this story better. Here be the first line:
Well, Your Honours, it is true that I killed your child king, indeed it is true.
Thank ye kindly Matey Jess for two stories that I loved and that I shall be pondering for a while. Arrr!