Sunday Shorts — “Peripheral,” by Jeffrey Ricker

CoverOne of the wonderful things about this lovely internet age in which we live is that I can connect with authors I adore through newsletters and blogs and updates so I don’t miss things.

Except, of course, I then miss things because I’m trying to keep up with newsletters and blogs and updates. It’s a Catch-22.

But that’s one of the things I love about Jeffrey Ricker’s newsletter: it doesn’t drop into my in-box so often that I’m struggling to keep up, it’s concise (hashtag-life-goals), and he often shares wonderful pieces of his writing that I can read while, say, I’m waiting for the freezing to kick in at the dentist because part of my bionic jaw went Sproing! again.

Case in point? “Peripheral.” Subscribers to Jeffrey’s Newsletter (which you can sign up for here) got a lovely e-collection of his short fiction recently. I missed “Peripheral” when it was originally published in UNBUILD walls journal (which you can now click and go read), so happily my e-reader and I sat, waiting for whatever that stuff they inject into my jaw to make it numb to make with the numbing, and I fell into this wonderful character facing his end.

Hobson is a scientist who has sent probes out into the great beyond, and is struggling with getting the connection to work just-so, and at the same time, his own living, breathing connections are also faltering. Added to this? An awful diagnosis.

As is likely obvious from my own writing, I really enjoy stories where characters face uncertain futures (or, more to the point, certain futures where it’s the timeline that’s the only real variable before inevitability) when they’re done a certain way. There can be triumph in a character staring down mortality.

There’s triumph in “Peripheral,” in a fantastic, spec-fic, and lovingly crafted way.

You should go read it.

(And you should go sign up for Jeffrey’s newsletter, too.)


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