Flash Fiction Online #88, January 2021

Flash Fiction Online #88, January 2021

“Across From her Dead Father in an Airport Bar” by Brian Trent

“Into the Lightning Suit” by Kyle Richardson

“Warlord” by Steve DuBois

“Southside Gods” by Sarah Grey (reprint, not reviewed)

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

This monthly magazine of very short stories has a new policy. Instead of publishing all its fiction on the first day of the month, it will offer one story each Friday. (Paying subscribers will receive all the magazine’s content at the start of each month.)

Set in the near future, “Across From her Dead Father in an Airport Bar” by Brian Trent deals with a woman who interacts with a prerecorded image of her deceased father. Their journey together across the ocean leads to the fulfillment of a promise he made before his death.

The speculative technology in this story is very realistic and plausible. Because of this, the protagonist’s relationship with her father has a strong emotional impact on the reader.

“Into the Lightning Suit” by Kyle Richardson also features a dead parent, but otherwise is very different. The narrator’s brother builds a new body for their mother’s brain, making use of steampunk techniques. To bring her back to life, he needs to obtain substances from an active volcano. At the site of the volcano, the narrator takes control of the situation, making her own decision about what to do with her mother’s remains.

In sharp contrast to the previous story, the technology here is not believable at all. Even for fantasy, the use of such things as corn starch to preserve a human brain strains credibility, and adds an unintentionally comic mood.

In “Warlord” by Steve DuBois, a descendent of Genghis Khan is confronted by a horde of cockroaches. They want him to lead them into battle. He figures out a way to assuage their bloodthirsty nature without harming anyone.

This is really just an extended joke. Some readers may appreciate its wry look at a certain popular form of entertainment.

Victoria Silverwolf is enjoying some orange/pineapple/apple/chamomile/passion flower juice.