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Abbey Mei Otis

Fiction and Excerpts [2]
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Fiction and Excerpts [2]

Read Abbey Mei Otis’ “Sweetheart”

Paxton and the neighbor’s kid are inseparable—sweethearts, even, and Paxton barely six. He doesn’t mind her antennae and clicking mandibles at all….

We’re excited to share Abbey Mei Otis’ “Sweetheart,” originally published on Tor.com in December 2010 and collected in Alien Virus Love Disaster: Stories, available now from Small Beer Press!

Otis’s short stories are contemporary fiction at its strongest: taking apart the supposed equality that is clearly just not there, putting humans under an alien microscope, putting humans under government control, putting kids from the moon into a small beach town and then the putting the rest of the town under the microscope as they react in ways we ope they would, and then, of course, in ways we’d hope they don’t. Otis has long been fascinated in using strange situations to explore dynamics of power, oppression, and grief, and the twelve stories collected here are at once a striking indictment of the present and a powerful warning about the future.

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Sweetheart

This story is also available for download from major ebook retailers.

Paxton is your baby boy, born just after you got out of the army, your peacetime child. He turned six last month but already he’s got a sweetheart who lives next door. He makes her crowns out of dandelions and shares his FruitBlaster cups with her. She brings him marbles that hum and lets him position her antennae into funny shapes. He has a lisp that the speech therapist has given up on, and she has clicking mandibles, but in their invented language of coos and giggles they are both poets. They sit out in the yard and very seriously lay grass on each other’s arms, and the sunlight cocoons them.

You and Denise watch them through the kitchen window.  Denise is an old army buddy and she gets it. All of it.

You say something like, No surprise he’s got a sweetheart already. Just look at his daddy.

Denise laughs rough and loud. Regular little Casanova, isn’t he? Regular little intergalactic Casanova. Damn. And I can’t even get a date.

[You want to date an ET?]

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