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Short Stories on Saturday: The Way of the Needle, Derek Künsken

asimovs march 2012I’ve decided to subscribe to Asimov’s on my Kindle and decided to write very brief thoughts on the stories in this and any other magazines I might choose to read in the future. I think “Short Story Saturday” is probably owned by someone but no one I follow; please let me know if I’m stealing your feature so I can give you credit!

My very first short story – or “novelette” as the magazine calls it – in years was The Way of the Needle by Derek Künsken. Both a thriller and a contemplative story about loyalty and friendship, the beings in this novelette have developed under the heat of microwaves. They’re made out of needles and feed one another in a relatively strict hierarchy. Mok, a Follower of the Needle, an order of martial priests, has a reputation to make and an assassination to carry out. On his way, he meets a slave, who he must befriend to make his way to the upper echelons of the palace and his assassination target …

I absolutely surprised myself by how much I delighted in this story. I loved every bit of it, from the weird world to awkward, half-arrogant Mok, to the actual ending of it. It felt quiet, just the way I like, but so powerful – and you’d never really imagine that spiky metal creatures soaking up microwaves could really do that, but these did. Brilliant – this story had me absolutely eager to read the rest of the magazine and reinforced my feelings that science fiction is still my current obsession.

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