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Migration: Judge’s Choices

Time to announce the Migration Judge’s Choices and Directory’s Choice (in no particular order) Thanks to the judges, and congrats to the authors!: Brenda Noiseux:

Zulu Finds a Home, by Kevin Klehr:

In a genre that can lean heavily to the dark side, Kevin Klehr’s Zulu Finds a Home pokes lighthearted fun at the imagination. It’s thoroughly enjoyable at face value as a campy tale or viewed with a finer eye reflecting our own societies.

Ben Brock: Skin Hunger, by Treasure Nguyen

Unapologetically sensual, at times disgusting, and slightly silly, this story took some extreme risks and they all paid off. Told in second person, we, the main character, finally find someone who loves us for who we truly are, vagina dentata and all. I appreciated how sex doesn’t always have to be sexy to the voyeur, the reader, for it to be compelling and valid. And if you do find it sexy? So much the better.

Angel Martinez: The Curious Cabinet, by Ginger Streusel

I’ve been privileged to judge the flash fiction contest every year, and each time I’m heavily drawn to the stories that take the theme and bend it in interesting ways. The Curious Cabinetis one of those stories. For this year’s Migration theme, we expected seasonal migrations and the migrations of displaced people. What I did not expect was the migration of a paranormal cooked cabbage odor attached to an inherited cabinet. This is a warm and gently funny story that sketches out a character and their relationship to their grandmother in small, careful brushstrokes. Underneath the humor is an undercurrent of loss, too, and a lovely message about how those we’ve lost never truly leave us. I loved the story for all of these things, for the casual reference to the character’s non-cis gender, and for the cabbage. Hey. I have a genetic weakness for cabbage – what can I say? dave ring: Repeating History, by J. Summerset Repeating History comes across as an unsettling exploration of trauma, both personal and intergenerational.  Though the protagonist is leaving behind at least one source of their pain, they can’t help but bring some of it with them, as well.  This story contains a well-crafted snapshot of horror, just enough to make the reader start backing away slowly as soon as they’ve finished reading.

Amir Lane: The Essence, by Lm Brown

This was an amazing story. Right from the first sentence, I was hooked. The world-building was as clear as you can get in 300 words. The main character has a defined personality, and they took on a very unique spin on the concept of migration. One of the things I loved about this story is that the main character is morally ambiguous. Through the story, you’re not sure whether the MC is good or bad, but you can feel that they’re desperate enough that you almost start to root for them. Until the end. It was a really well-written story that stuck with me.

J. Scott Coatsworth: Stream of Consciousness, by Ziggy Schutz (Director’s Choice)

For me, the measure of a flash fiction story is how it sticks with me long after I’ve read it. Each of my Director’s Picks reflects this philosophy, and Stream of Consciousness is no exception. It’s wistful, a little sad, and a little magical, with a dollop of hope at the end. Everything I want a flash fiction story—or any story—to be. And in the end, it swept me away with it too. Beautifully done.

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