Short Fiction Review — May 2024

By Danai Christopoulou in Issue Fifteen, May 2024

"An Incomplete Body Has No Answers" by Angela Liu (Lightspeed #166)

“You’ve been raised to believe that something without a name does not really exist even when all its parts are swinging at you.” Angela Liu’s horror-tinged sci-fi flash takes place in a future where the narrator has to undergo the month-long journey to Mars twice, to bring home their partner’s body. With an intriguing mix of seemingly utopian technological developments and a dystopian emotional landscape (an unnamed tragedy in the narrator’s past that sent them into a depression spiral, the mysterious manner of the partner’s death), Liu presents us with the heartbreaking last chapter of a relationship that was once more than the sum of its parts.

"Your Sword, Your Trumpet" by Anjali Patel (The Deadlands #33)

After an intricate dance for dominance over the realm which has lasted millennia, an unnamed, primordial force of Order finally manages to prevail over the enigmatic, primordial force of Chaos—only to realize the catastrophic consequences, for the world and themself both. With lyrical prose, a storyworld that is just vague enough to be universal yet detailed enough to feel lived-in, and a subtly humorous vein that pulses throughout, Anjali Patel has crafted a captivating love story between two immortal beings that is surprisingly relatable and sweet.

"In the Year 2067 I Will Be 95 Years Old" by Sage Tyrtle (Reckoning 8)

Reckoning never fails to feature thoughtful fiction and poetry that engages with environmental concerns from diverse perspectives, and “In the Year 2067 I Will Be 95 Years Old” is one of the best examples of that. Written in short, skillful vignettes that all start with the phrase “The year 2067 is,” Sage Tyrtle’s story is as devastating as it is oddly hopeful. Painting a kaleidoscope of post-apocalyptic, post-climate disaster struggles juxtaposed with softer, almost solarpunk approaches to what 2067 could be like, the author reminds us that all features are possible—and that we’d better hope we don’t have to arm ourselves with old license plates.

"If You Wake" by Avra Margariti (Hexagon #16)

When awaken early from her cryogenic slumber while onboard the family spaceship that was supposed to take them to a “godful, witchless” planet, eighteen-year-old Nayia must decide whether to keep playing by the strict, suffocating rules her uber-religious family has enforced upon them all, or embrace her literal inner demon. Filled with tongue-in-cheek biblical references, nauseatingly sweet trad-wife fever dreams meant to work as a subconscious catechism, and powered by Avra Margariti’s lusciously dark and poetic prose, “If You Wake” makes for a satisfying tale of queer liberation and reclamation of one’s true self amid the stars.

© 2024 Danai Christopoulou

Danai Christopoulou

Danai Christopoulou is a queer Greek SFF author and editor. Danai’s nonfiction has appeared in publications such as Glamour and Marie Claire since 2004. They are an editor for Hugo-nominated khōréō magazine, an assistant editor for HavenSpec, and a literary agent in training at Tobias Literary Agency. Their short fiction has been published in khōréō, Fusion Fragment and others, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and featured in the official Nebula Reading List. Danai’s novels are represented by Lauren Bieker of FinePrint Literary.

Fiction by Danai Christopoulou
  • The Moon is All Wrong Here