Brenda Cooper

Reading Recommendation: Two Cautionary Tales

Some of our most famous work in SF is cautionary tales.  Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, 1984.  Most of the world remembers these stories.  I’m writing short fiction this month, so that’s what I’m reading.  Two stories I finished last night fit beautifully into the category of cautionary tales.  Both stories are downright chilling, which makes them appropriate for Halloween recommendations.  One is Paolo Bagigalupi’s Pump Six.  It’s in his single author collection, Pump Six and other stories, which came out in February of this year from Night Shade Books.  This story first came to my attention because Tor Editor David Hartwell recommended it.  Think of how much energy and money we aren’t putting into basic infrastructure today, and then follow that forward….

I grabbed my December issue of Asimov’s, and the cover story is The Flowers of Nicosia, by David Ira Cleary.  A little less black and white than Paolo’s work, it does a nice job of portraying the complexities of our relationships with the Middle East through rock and roll.  Really.  And if David Ira Cleary hasn’t played in a band at some point, I’m amazed.  The story is written with the power of someone who understands the lingo and the power and the history or our music, and who had likely been out of the United States.  I’m guessing here – I don’t know the author – but that’s the easy authority this story speaks in.  It’s worth reading.