There were a lot of really entertaining stories published in April, and I had a hard time narrowing them down to my favorites. All of the ones I eventually picked are by authors I have not featured here before! They’re also all available to read online, at the indicated links. Three of these include a kind of splitting or parallel worlds, while the other two feature conflict with humans living on alien worlds.
In the Shade of the Pixie Tree by Rodello Santos (Short Story, Beneath Ceaseless Skies): This was a clever magical time travel story that is told in both directions. Bekka heads off to collect pixies, and a boy she likes comes with her--even though he’s not supposed to. In a world with magic, their innocent flirting can lead to dangerous consequences.
When Stars are Scattered by Spencer Ellsworth (Novelette, Tor.com): This is a story about faith and an unusual alien species, “Kites”, on a colonized world. A Muslim community is converting the Kites, and a nearby Christian colony sees them as pests. When a disease begins to spread through the Kite community, it inflames tensions between the two groups.
Sunwake, in the Lands of Teeth by Juliette Wade (Novella, Clarkesworld): This is another story featuring humans interacting with aliens, specifically a small group of humans studying an alien civilization. The non-human cultures and the political situation depicted here were really fascinating, and I loved the creative use of language and the alien perspective.
The Selkie Wives by Kendra Fortmeyer (Short Story, Apex): The general selkie story involves a beautiful selkie woman, who is trapped on land and married when a man steals her sealskin. This story presents a clutter of variations on that theme, some sad and some hilarious, exploring different relationships between men and women.
Seven Permutations of my Daughter by Lina Rather (Short Story, Lightspeed): This one is a very emotionally affecting story about a woman whose daughter is struggling with drug addiction. Feeling desperate and helpless, she builds a machine that allows her to jump into parallel worlds. She thinks that if she can find a world where her daughter is happy, she’ll be able to see where things went wrong and how to make things right.