Story of the Week:"Spinning Out" by Jamie Barras



My main intention in selecting stories of the week is to give added exposure to worthwhile tales. That said, I also want to prove that great stories are not merely found within the dry, dusty pages of esteemed literary journals. Great stories appear every day in newspapers, online journals, blogs, and other places. These great stories are being written in ever possible genre of fiction and nonfiction.

This week's story, "Spinning Out" by Jamie Barras, is a classic science fiction and sea adventure story published in two parts on the online magazine Strange Horizons. The reason I call this a "classic" science fiction story is that it includes all the elements of the great science fiction stories--namely, a larger-than-life setting, the use of technology as a main plot device, and a strong sense of adventure. In addition, the story is also a classic tale of the sea, as the young man narrating the story finds himself on a sailing ship in the adventure of his lifetime.

I love how this story so effortlessly melds the genres of science fiction and sea adventures into one beautiful written story. The call of the sea and the call to explore other worlds are in many way different sides to the same human coin--our instinctual need to see what is over the next horizon. That this story so perfectly combines the old and new versions of humanity's attempts at exploration is an amazing thing to behold.

As a side note, this story also resonates because it doesn't attempt to be overly "literary," which is something that has plagued too much of science fiction since the New Wave movement of the 1970s. In short, Jamie Barras knows he has a good story here and he simply tells it, without overreaching literary devices or angst. The story itself draws the reader in and the story is, in the end, what remains after we leave this wonderfully crafted world.

Read the story.