Monday, September 12, 2016

Dragon-Smoked Barbeque, by M.K. Hutchins

(Slipstream) Grandpa is gone, but the young narrator is determined to win the Tastiest Ribs competition in his memory, even if he's not quite sure how you're supposed to use the dragon. (761 words; Time: 02m)

Rating: ★★★★☆, Recommended

"," by , appeared in Strange Horizons issue 09/12/16, published on

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: A very sweet, tear-jerker of a story. It surprises us a bit, since we expect something to go wrong with the dragon. The story makes it clear that the narrator loved his grandfather, but he's all business as he goes about making the ribs, and so we're not expecting a sentimental story. Every step of the way, we learn more and more about Grandpa, but always in a positive, non-maudlin way. So when the narrator tastes the ribs, we're not expecting to cry, but in that vision of Grandpa, smiling and proud, we feel the narrator's loss all at once. It's quite a trick to do that in just 761 words.

Con: Arguably, it's still a cheap trick.

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