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.
“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 boy’s need, grabs you and sweeps you forward relentlessly to the end.
The Voice Talent
LeVar Burton is an actor, presenter, and author know by many of us. He is best known for his role as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation and his role as Kunta Kinte in the ABC miniseries Roots.
Mr. Burton has long been an advocate of reading. He hosted the long-running PBS show for children, Reading Rainbow (1983-2001 and 2002-2006). He started his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads in 2017. (Read his Wikipedia bio.)
In every episode of his podcast, he reads a short story aloud. He says the only thing these stories have in common is that he loves them.
Bruce McAllister, author of literary and genre fiction, was born October 17, 1946, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Worlds of If magazine published McAllister’s first short story, “The Faces Outside,” in the July 1963 issue. He was sixteen. The story appeared in Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 25 (1963) and The 9th Annual of the Year’s Best SF, 1964.
Known for his short stories, he has published novels, poetry, short stories and articles, been a consultant to writers on film and TV projects for studios and production companies. He taught literature and writing. Currently he’s a writing coach in Southern California where he lives with his wife. He has three children.
I love listening to Mr. Burton. I think he could entertain me by reading the dictionary. In this story, his delivery of a unique voice for each character worked perfectly for me. But this story is as satisfying to read silently as to listen to it.
You know why this story appealed to me if you’ve read My Soul to Keep. Specific details and an emotional resonance make this story a satisfying read, and Mr. Burton’s wonderful voice makes it an enthralling listen.
Story Time Reviews “Kin” by Bruce McAllister receives 5 out of 5 stars.
I hope you like the Story Time Reviews posts. They will make occasional appearances on this blog. Did Story Time Reviews “Kin” help you decide you’d like to read or listen to this story? Why or why not?