SH Flashback: “Little Gods,” by Tim Pratt

I didn’t manage to post last week’s planned Strange Horizons Flashback story, and in the past, falling behind has been the beginning of the end for this project; I don’t get the week’s story posted, and then time passes, and eventually I accept that I’m not going to continue the project, and then a year later I pick it up again and give it another try.

This time, I’m going to try something different: I’m posting the story I had scheduled for this week, and I’ll try to come back and post the one scheduled for last week soon.

Part of the problem is just my usual kinds of procrastination and not-getting-things-done-ness, but I confess that another part of the problem is political; I re-read these stories that we published, with my enthusiastic consent and often my editing, five or ten or fifteen years ago, and I’m more aware now of the ways in which they don’t always live up to my political standards, in which they might hurt readers who read them now.

The way I want to handle that is to (a) evaluate whether I think the story is nonetheless worth linking to (the answer has always been yes so far), then (b) if so, link to it with a content note, so that y’all can make an informed decision about whether you want to read it. But in practice, if there’s a political issue or even a potential political issue that I’m concerned about in the story, I tend to shy away from posting about it, which means I delay and delay and eventually put the project on hold again.

But I’m gonna try to push myself to post anyway.

So here’s this week’s Strange Horizons Flashback story:

Little Gods,” by Tim Pratt (illustrated by Mark Precious)
A story about the goddesses and gods of little aspects of life, and about grief and loss. (Content warning for someone being killed with a gun, and for a man having an impulse to hit a woman and throwing a heavy object at another woman.) (Published in 2002.) (5,200 words.)

“Little things get little gods. It's only natural.”

(See also the full list of Flashback stories.)




This is not the first Flashback story about grief, and it won’t be the last; dealing with the loss of a loved one is a theme that often works very well for me.

Especially when it ends with a step toward healing. As with various others of the Flashback stories, what I love most about this one is the ending; the final scene still makes me cry.

I could critique various aspects of this story; if I were editing it today, I might ask Tim to make some further changes. But I think I’m not going to start listing flaws. On the whole, I still like the story quite a bit.

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