“The House That Jessica Built” by Nadia Bulkin


“The House That Jessica Built” by Nadia Bulkin.
Short story. Published in “The Dark,” November 2016.

This story was suggested for discussion by Charles Payseur.

Payseur’s previous review of this story is well-worth reading, and he’s also written a discussion opener for us:

Something that I find particularly interesting is how this story uses belief. It’s something of a trope in horror that if someone has a completely legitimate concern (noises, silhouettes in the night, flashes of seeing…something) everyone around them will discount it and ignore it. That these other people will tell the aggrieved that they’re just imagining things. And it’s no mistake that often the person being disbelieved is a woman or a child. Horror tends to play with the feeling of helplessness, and this story certainly checks its share of boxes when it comes to horror tropes. This is far from a complaint, though. Indeed, I love how the story complicates the tropes, deepens this concept of belief, how it can be weaponized against a person, and also how it can be freeing and healing.

Continue reading ““The House That Jessica Built” by Nadia Bulkin”

“Screamers,” by Tochi Onyebuchi

“Screamers,” by Tochi Onyebuchi.omenana_cover

Short story. Published in Omenana, November 2016.

This story was suggested for discussion by Chinelo Onwualu, who writes:

This story is a powerful meditation on disconnection and disenfranchisement as a father and son struggle with finding a way to understand each other while working to police a community that’s not theirs. It is layered and complex and incredibly timely for these troubled times we live in.

I loved the story because it showed such a high level of craft, deftly weaving together a lot of delicate threads to create something profoundly moving. I think that any discussions on it shouldn’t overlook what it has to say about race, class and disenfranchisement in today’s America. What really does happen to a dream deferred?

Read the story, and join the discussion!

Chinelo Onwualu is editor and co-founder of Omenana, a magazine of African speculative fiction. She is the author of a number of short stories and lives in Abuja, Nigeria.

“And Then, One Day, the Air was Full of Voices,” by Margaret Ronald

Another one from Clarkesworld: “And Then, One Day, the Air was Full of Voices,” by Margaret Ronald.

Recommended by BestSF, who writes:
“Because of it’s structure, mix of human and societal analysis, and an altogether different type of First Contact, I’m putting this forward for consideration for the Best SF Short Story Award 2016.”

Read the story:


“Toward the Luminous Towers,” by Bogi Takács

“Toward the Luminous Towers,” by Bogi Takács.

Clarkesworld, Short story.

Takács is fantastic and intriguing on Twitter, and I’ve been looking forward to reading something of theirs and bringing it to the group. 🙂

Content notes: warfare and combat injuries described in detail, medical abuse specifically directed at a disabled person, oppressive political regimes, detailed discussion of suicide.

Read the story:


omenana: “The Company,” by Sanya Noel, and “Sweet Like Pawpaw,” by Rafeeat Aliyu

I want to check out Omenana, an online magazine for African SF – by Africans, about Africa, or both.

I thought I’d diverge from our routine and plump for *two* stories from their current issue – “The Company,” by Sanya Noel, and “Sweet Like Pawpaw,” by Rafeeat Aliyu.