Story Time Reviews “Kin”

Story Time Reviews remembers that special time when an adult reads to a child and recognizes that as a grown-up, we need to reward ourselves with a story time now and then. I’m reviving this blog series that offers reviews of stories read aloud. Today Story Time Reviews “Kin” by Bruce McAllister read on “LeVar Burton Reads.” This podcast originally posted on June 13, 2017. It runs 36:46 minutes in length. The Story “Kin” by Bruce McAllister appeared in the February 2006 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction. It received a nomination for the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. The story appears in multiple anthologies and is an Amazon “short read.” The story is about a meeting between a young boy who has a need and an alien assassin. Their meeting yields unexpected results. The principal character, a twelve-year-old boy, is convincing. The author’s words paint the alien assassin in scary otherworldly details. The story starts in a third person omniscient viewpoint that quickly switches to a closer third-person viewpoint and shatters conventions by relaying the story from three different viewpoints. One might think three viewpoints would make the story flabby and difficult to follow. Yet, the story, the […]

Story Time Reviews: A Japanese Fairy Tale

Story Time Reviews a Japanese Fairy Tale told on the Myths and Legends podcast, episode 161 titled Japanese Folk Lore: Karma.  The orginal story, “The Old Woman Who Lost her Dumpling,” may come from Hearn, Lafcadio, translator. Japanese Fairy Tales: The Boy Who Drew Cats. Tokyo: T. Hasegawa, 1898. This podcast includes two stories. “The Old Woman who lost her dumpling” is the first story told on the podcast. Duration 16 minutes and 14 seconds.  The Story Making Dumplings Making Dumplings. The old women liked to make dumplings and laugh. One day she drops a dumpling to the floor. It rolls through a small hole in her home’s floor. She reaches into the hole and the dirt beneath her cracks open. She drops. She survives a long drop and though the land is weird, she sees her dumpling rolling away and she runs after it. She stops and catches her breath leaning against a Jizo-san statue. (Weiser gives us an aside at this point explaining the relevance and meaning of a Jizo-san statue in Japanese culture.) The statue warns her not to follow her dumpling because a wicked Oni lives down there, who eats people. But the old woman doesn’t heed […]

Story Time Reviews “Operation Haystack”

Story Time Reviews “Operation Haystack” by Frank Herbert. If you enjoy science fiction spy mysteries, you’ll enjoy this short story. It first appeared in Astounding in May 1959.  This review is of the public domain LibriVox recording. It is a little more than. 48 minutes in duration. All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted. — Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune The Story The story is about Field Agent Lewis Orne, injured during an assignment on a planet ruled by women. The doctors have no hope of saving him. A “womblike creche pod” had taken over most of his badly mangled body’s vital functions. Umbo Stetson, Orne’s section chief, writes Orne’s mother about her son’s condition. She is too ill to travel. In her stead, a friend and local, Mrs. Ipscott Bullone of Marak, wife of the High Commissioner, takes over for the family.  Miraculously Orne survives. Mrs. Bullone invites Orne to recuperate at her home after his discharge from the hospital.  This is an opportunity Stetson can’t pass up. He suspects Ipscott […]