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The Bones of Giants by Yoon Ha Lee
Candy and Me by Hilary Liftin
Color is Everything by Dan Bartges
The Dancers' War (in by N. K. Jemisin
Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9) by Mary Pope Osborne
Fairy Hunters, Ink. by Sheila A Dane
Falling into the Sun by Charrie Hazard
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The Goddamned Tooth Fairy by Tina Kuzminski
Goldilicious by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann
Haunted (Mediator #5) by Meg Cabot
Horrible Harry and the Green Slime by Suzy Kline
Hunchster by Matthew Hughes
I Spy School Days by Jean Marzollo
Icarus Saved from the Sky by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud
I'd Rather We Got Casinos: And Other Black Thoughts by Larry Wilmore
A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G. K. Chesterton
A Matter of Feeling by Janine Boissard
The Navajo (True Books) by Alice Osinski
The Night Villa by Carol Goodman
No Elephants Allowed by Deborah Robinson
On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck
The Others by Lawrence C. Connolly
Painting the Invisible Man by Rita Schiano
Precious Jeopardy: A Christmas Story by Lloyd C. Douglas
Real Sofistikashun by Tony Hoagland
Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
The Secret of the Pink Pokémon by Tracey West
The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright
The Sky Rained Heroes by Frederick LaCroix
Synarchy Book 1: The Awakening by DCS
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène Du Bois
The Wild Wood by Charles de Lint
Winter Walk by Ann Burg

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Hunchster: 10/03/09

Today's story from Fantasy & Science Fiction is "Hunchster" by Matthew Hughes. This short story reminds me most of the "Mind Over Murder" episode of Family Guy.

In "Mind Over Murder" most of the episode centers around Peter building a bar in his basement while he's under house arrest. The B-plot though has Stewie building a time machine. Here the plot isn't about beer; it's about poker. The narrator and his buddies are taking advantage of someone who wants to be called the "Hunchster." He's good with technology but is probably on the highly functioning end of the autistic spectrum.

The Hunchster is a victim of the dot-com crash. Once upon a time he'd had a career at an up and coming start-up that promised to change the world. Except it didn't. Now he's on disability and his "roommates" need his regular checks to pay the rent. That's about all they need him for.

Stewie and the Hunchster are both ignored — Stewie because he's a baby and the Hunchster because he's not exactly social. Both are perfectly happy to be left alone. They use their time to build things. Stewie's family is probably too dim to understand most of what he does but the Hunchster's roomies are just smart enough to see potential in what he has created.

Poker themed stories usually make my eyes glaze over and my brain turn off. I just don't care for the game. But Hughes pulls it off for "Hunchster" by peppering in enough dialogue to give a hint at what's really going on. So when the big surprise comes it's a rewarding end.

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