Become Like a God: Short Science Fiction Mythologies, by McCamy Taylor (40:00)

IOD-BecomeLikeGodToday we see that a great story only holds the reader if they make it to the good stuff.

What I gleaned about the stories: Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.

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Note: This is a short story collection, so the rules are slightly different from standard Immerse or Die: instead of reading on every time I lose immersion, I stop reading that story and move on to the next one. As usual, I stop reading after the third WTF.

WTF #1: Tense niggle

Analysis: The first story opens with:

Growing pain in my shoulders. Itchy crawling sensation all over my face and scalp. The pilot of the antique space freighter mumbled something about a problem with pressurization.

The first two sentences took me deep into a present visceral experience, so the shift into past tense in sentence three didn’t sit right. After a moment, I overcame the niggle, but by then I’d lost immersion. So I moved on.

Kudo #1: Attention to detail

Analysis: A few paragraphs into the second story, I encountered: Roman greets me the way s/he always does. “Fascist Butcher.” The combination of gender/sex options different from those currently common with the ambivalence of a regular brutal insult painted a very intriguing picture, so I wanted to read on.

Kudo #2: Engaging world-building

Analysis: Sometimes fine prose is layered over an average idea, but here the stories and worlds described were as interesting as the choice of language.

WTF #2: Grocers’ Apostrophe

Analysis: Two paragraphs into the third story, I hit: This is blasphemy, but I am probably going to hell for what I do for a living, no matter what Father Andrews’ says. That rogue apostrophe got into my eye like grit, so I moved on.

Take the Pepsi Challenge: Want to know if my own writing measures up? Download one of these free short stories, in the format of your choice, and decide for yourself.

To Trust The Wolf, by Peter Birk (6:20)
Skeletal, by Katherine Hayton (27:41)

About the author

Dave Higgins has worked in law and IT for both public and private sector organisations. When not pursuing these hobbies, he writes poetry and speculative fiction. He was born in Wiltshire, England. Raised by a librarian, he started reading shortly after birth and has not stopped since. He currently lives in Bristol with his wife, Nicola, his cats, Jasper and Una, and many shelves of books.