‘a bottle of storm clouds’ book winners

Thank you to everyone who joined the contest! If I could give you all an advance copy I would – but I have a limited supply, and my family wants the advance copies. All of the copies.

All of them.

On to the winners!

The first winner shared a story that I haven’t read before, and wrote about it in such a way that made me want to read it immediately. And I did. And it was such a haunting, heartbreaking story. When I went back to the entry comment, I could only nod and agree with the descriptions and insight.

Congratulations Jammi!

When asked the question, a multitude of stories come to mind. I’m sure by this time tomorrow, I will have thought of more stories that I could easily call my favorite, and I only happened to forget at this time how much they have moved me, or changed my view on important things, or questioned certain paradigms I operate in. But there is one story that never fails to move me, and make me ponder on the nature of perspective.

I discovered it years ago, something I stumbled upon entirely by accident (aren’t some of the best stories discovered this way?). “The House of Asterion” (By JORGE LUIS BORGES) is a beautiful story that shines in the short burst of images and emotions it displays. I cannot be any more detailed without taking away from the experience of reading it, its subtle and painful revelations are what makes it so unique. I read this story every so often, and its last words always leave me with a sense of uncomfortable sadness and genuine empathy.


Some of the very best speculative fiction are the stories that force you to question the viewpoints you take for granted, and the perspectives we choose to ignore. The unique voices that are often drowned out by the majority, by cultural norms.

I read this story every so often, and its last words always leave me with a sense of uncomfortable sadness and genuine empathy. That’s it. That’s it exactly. Thank you for sharing this, Jammi! And you guys should read “The House of Asterion“.

The second winner shared a story that I’ve read before, and made me want to revisit it again. The winner’s description of the story is straightforward, but very intriguing.

Congratulations, Ice!

My favorite SF story is Ray Bradbury’s All Summer in A Day. I read it as a child and I was terrified by the cruelty of Margot’s classmates. Children are generally assumed to be sweet and innocent, but in reality, they can be very, very mean, especially when they form a pack.

When I read this story as an adult, it was still heartbreaking.

Didn’t you just want to read the story right now? Do yourself a favor and click here.

Hi ladies! Do email your complete names, mailing addresses (office or residential), and cell phone numbers to victoriaeliza [at] gmail [dot] com so you can get the book this week. :D Hope to see you in future book events!


So let me share my own as-of-now favorite stories:

One of my recent favorite reads is Ken Liu‘s “The Paper Menagerie”. It features a very specific kind of magic, and it is about an immigrant mother’s pain of not knowing anyone and not understanding anything – even her own son.

You know how when you are separated from your homeland, you tend to find your home in other people? But what if those people rejected you? What then? This is that story.

Click here to read the tale.

Another beautiful story that I’ve mentioned on this blog before: “Immersion”  by Aliette de Bodard. I haven’t read the story in text form, but I was able to listen to the audio download. It was such a compelling story, and such a beautiful audio adaptation by Kate Baker, that I didn’t notice the time passing by.

In “Immersion”, locals use immersers to assume the appearance, language and body cues of Galactic, a former colonizer. At the end of the reading, Kate talked a bit about the story, and I found it strange that she would read it simply as a story about addiction, that she would identify with Quy as a young woman who wants to help a junkie break a habit. It is not just about addiction. It is about being ensnared by the power of a (former) colonial master even in the age of (supposed) freedom. It is about being jailed in a mindset that there is a superior race, and you do not belong to it because your language is wrong, your skin color is wrong, your faith is wrong, you are wrong. It is about giving up your identity to join the majority, to avoid the hate, and how there is a price, and sometimes the price is too high.

I live in a country with a colonial past: 300 years under Spain, 50 years under the US, and there was a time when the Japanese took over and raped our women. Aliette is of French-Vietnamese descent (and she dedicated this story to Rochita Loenen-Ruiz), and you can see her understanding of the horrible effects of being a colony in this story. A colonizer’s hold doesn’t end with the declaration of a colony’s independence.


Thank you all for joining! To stories!


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