REVIEW: “What to Do When It’s Nothing but Static” by Cassandra Khaw

Review of Cassandra Khaw, “What to Do When It’s Nothing but Static”, Apex Magazine 107 (2018): Read Online. Reviewed by Joanna Z. Weston.

This is a glorious blend of the strange and the heartfelt, a story about aging and moving on from loss, set in a world in which a team of five (formerly six) little old ladies mentally link up to pilot a mecha and fight giant monsters. We don’t see them do this at any point, but it colors the whole story with a sense of the bizarre. And while the monsters never appear on-screen, the psychic link up is vital to the plot, as the narrator is trying to come to grips with the grief of losing one of her sisters.

I have so many questions about the world. Are all the pilots teams of little old ladies, and if so, why? If not, how did these grandmothers get the job? But of course, that doesn’t matter to the story. I just loved this so much that I wanted more. Some of the dialogue was confusing at first to my North American inner ear, but it really didn’t take long to adjust and figure out what the various interjections indicated.

This is a compact story, short enough to enjoy during a quick break. I recommend that you do so!

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