REVIEW: “Sycamore Heights” by Josie Turner

Review of Josie Turner, “Sycamore Heights”, Luna Station Quarterly 26 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Sometimes all you need is a good opening line or two to utterly sympathise with a character. In this case,

The Masons would not have booked their beds in advance. They were not that organised.

Oh, Masons, I feel you. I am not that organised either.

The more I read about the Masons, the more I liked them (and identified with them!). When their foibles dropped them in the lap of something more sinister and my laughter turned to grim delight at Turner’s deft working of horror, I found myself enjoying this story a lot more than many horror stories I read.

REVIEW: “The Garden” by Carlea Holl-Jensen

Review of Carlea Holl-Jensen, “The Garden”, Luna Station Quarterly 26 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Cruelty to animals.

The titular garden is the setting for an intimate glimpse into the life of Albie and Evelyn, two peculiar characters that I never really drew a bead on. Were they teenagers? Were they young children? Were they siblings? Were they lovers? At one time I thought one way, at other times, another, and given how inconsistent their characterization were (if they ARE 6-ish years old, why the heavy sexual tension at times? If they’re grown teenage siblings, why are they playing children’s games together?) it was a weirdly uncomfortable read.

REVIEW: “The Save” by Nicole Robb

Review of Nicole Robb, “The Save”, Luna Station Quarterly 26 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

The premise of this story is simple: Everyone gets one Save, to use as they will (though of course it’s easier to know how and when to use it if you have proper training, hence you practice Saving in elementary school; and of course many people will judge you if you Save the wrong person, or even for Saving anyone at all.) The execution is likewise simple: Janice has long known whom her Save would be for, until she is confronted with a situation where she must make a choice.

Simple, but by no means ineffective.

REVIEW: “Where the Hollow Tree Waits” by John Langan

Review of John Langan, “Where the Hollow Tree Waits”, Weird Horror 1 (2020): 70-73 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

For such a short story (one of the shortest in the issue), there was a lot of description — it’s pretty much all description as Martin narrates to his father, Les, a dream he’d had the night before. It wasn’t too far into the dream-recitation that I had an inkling of what was going to happen, which meant that if I was right, almost none of the description was actually necessary to read. I feel like the tension leading up to the ending in this one could have been handled a bit better, but there was a bittersweetness in the sharp, swift ending that I really loved.