Fantázia Award 2022 (Gareth D Jones): Comments on the stories
Go ahead and read the comments to the stories of Fantázia Award 2022 from the judge Gareth D Jones who is unofficially the second most widely translated science fiction short story author in the world, having been published in 31 languages. He is a father of five, two of whom are also published authors. He lives in the UK where he writes stories and reviews, fuelled by copious amounts of tea. www.garethdjones.co.uk
I enjoyed this. It had a cyberpunk feel, but less grim and gloomy than most cyberpunk, despite the subject matter. The little rays of light such as the janitor leaving a birthday card for Mute made me smile, and altogether it formed a satisfying and thoughtful tale.
This story did an amazing job in a short space to not only portray the curse of Alzheimer’s, but also to develop such a chilling concept and bring about a haunting conclusion.
I was kept guessing as to whether it was a real kidnap or staged by his wife. The ‘cabin in the woods’ setting is a bit cliched, but as it was intended to mimic his writing it was justified. I wasn’t entirely convinced when he suddenly turned homicidal though – it seems there should have been something more in his background to cause that transformation.
Ebbs and Flows
I enjoyed the innocent, wonder-filled narrative of the river and thought it was an original and interesting viewpoint for a story.
A wonderfully haunting story that continues to get more and more intense, right up to the unexpected but inevitable conclusion.
A disturbing and uncomfortable story that deals with powerful issues and leaves both character and reader with a sense of ambivalence.
A Bus Down Memory Lane
This is a wonderfully lyrical and emotional story, weaving together the Sofia’s back story and the mundanity of the trip without explaining how the time-travelling aspect works. The brief sketches of the others on the bus give it a realistic and grounded feel.
The Kennedy Mayhem
The Kennedy assassination is a popular subject for time travel stories, but I love the way that popularity was woven into this tale. The criss-crossing timelines and multiple anomalies made this an engaging and entertaining read.
The strange gifts of orphans for the glorious chosen few
There’s a great sense of something bigger in this story – a history and a mythology underlying the story that give it depth and made for an intriguing tale.
The Brave Fellow
I always enjoy a time travel story, and this was so unexpected that it made a particularly good impression. The policeman was a great character and really added a realistic setting for this fantastical tale.
Ring of Fire
This story had a wonderfully evocative setting, giving the impression of a vast, rich history behind it. The tension and the action kept me intrigues to the end.
I am demon-proof, baby
I particularly enjoyed the dialogue in this entertaining story – it had a great flow and a feel of naturalness amidst the strange happenings.
Sleepwalker’s Survival Guide
I really enjoyed the understated humour in this and the all-too-real viewpoint of a main character with covid. It was like war of the worlds with an Arthur Dent vibe and was hugely entertaining.
Memories of Home
A powerful and effective story. I was drawn in by the wry humour at the beginning, and by the intriguing situation – the mystery of who they were and what happened to their memories. The story kept adding new layers, moving from humour to thoughtful and left a deep impression.
This was a gripping and terrifying tale, and built up a sense of doom effectively. The way characters were briefly introduced only to die gave it a bit of a whirlwind feel, as though everything was out of control. It was very well done.
Under the full moon
A quirky and entertaining story. Vampire stories are very popular currently, but the limited scope of this meant it stuck to the point entertainingly.
Suffering of Modern Technology
This was such a fun story! The chaotic circumstances and the looming imaginary apocalypse of the pizzeria workers were put together in such a convincing way. The back stories of the robots and the examination of how they would interact reminded me of some of the old Asimov stories where he explored the consequences of various tweaks to his Three Laws. It was very well done.
A Magical Day
An entertaining fable, grounding myth and magic in the real world. It felt like a much longer story could have been told to fill in the background, but all of the characters, like the briefly-seen police captain, added depth to the tale.
The setting on the train in the dark was very original – those scenes with no light at all were so atmospheric. The backstory of what Elu was doing there was also intriguing, a great mixture of the concept they were researching and the setting in a country far away made it a memorable story.
Black and White
This was a weirdly psychedelic story in which the blurrings of dream and reality, colour and monochrome had a bit of a Philip K Dick feel. The mundane breakfast, high school and shopping settings made the dream-reality seem even more bizarre. A quirky and enjoyable little story.