Adventure fantasy is an adrenaline hit. Planetary romances like A Princess of Mars are shots of heroic wish fulfillment. And smoke and sorcery wallow in the grit of a spaghetti western.
I also go through phases where I’m looking for the emotional power and the subtle voice and character work of more literary fantasy. I recently read three pieces of short fantasy that hit me hard for different reasons. All are available online for free.
The first was “If You Were My Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky, Apex Magazine, March, 2013. Swirsky’s whimsical voice captivates the reader with a sing-song charm, but subversively so. The very brief story rolls faster and faster down a hill, on its way to a powerful cliff.
Here’s a sample to give you a taste of its romantic, earnest strangeness:
If you were a T-Rex, then I would become a zookeeper so that I could spend all my time with you. I’d bring you raw chickens and live goats. I’d watch the gore shining on your teeth. I’d make my bed on the floor of your cage, in the moist dirt, cushioned by leaves. When you couldn’t sleep, I’d sing you lullabies.