Sunday recs: Mundanity, elephants, opera and a coffee shop

This week’s Sunday Recs presents four very different stories – all of them awesome. (Well, duh, otherwise I’d hardly be recommending that you read them!)

Relentlessly Mundane by Jo Walton. This was published in Strange Horizons 14 years ago, but I only just found it while looking for, like, everything that Jo Walton has written ever. (I’ve enjoyed every novel of hers that I’ve read so far; should read the remaining ones too.) Anyway, ‘Relentlessly Mundane’ is a response to the question I’m sure a lot of us have had after reading the Narnia books: coming back home after saving the other world, how do you go back to ordinary life?

Njàbò by Claude Lalumière, in Expanded Horizons. Intriguing story with a warm strangeness to it. I’m actually not sure about the ending – it didn’t entirely work for me – but I really liked the story otherwise. The atmosphere is really unique, and there are polyamorous relationships that just exist as part of the background of the story, not as anything “edgy”. Refreshing and awesome.

The Suitcase Aria by Marissa Lingen, in Strange Horizons. The setting in this story isn’t something you see in every other specfic: it’s a weird eighteenth-century Berlin opera house. The strangeness in this nix story is nicely subtle.

Today’s final rec is Surprise Me by Andrew Knighton, in Daily Science Fiction. This story about a special sort of coffee shop is just adorable. Read it and feel all warm and fuzzy inside!