REVIEW: “Glissade” by Lindz McLeod

Review of Lindz McLeod, “Glissade” Cossmass Infinities 5 (2021): Read or purchase online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Sam learned how to walk through the woods in the Quiet from her father (a skill her brother Jamie never really understood). The Quiet is what allows Sam and her family to hunt, and at first, reading the story, the Quiet seems peaceful, tranquil, something good. It’s only as you read further along that you realise just what it is that Sam and her family are hunting…

An unexpectedly gruesome and vicious story!

REVIEW: “Top Ten Demons to Kill Before the World Ends” by dave ring

Review of dave ring, “Top Ten Demons to Kill Before the World Ends,” Cossmass Infinities 5 (2021): — Read or purchase online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

It’s the end of the world and demons will be demons, and demon-slayers will be demon-slayers… Exactly what the title says it is, full of hilarious footnotes, I loved this story of a sisterhood of demonkillers who “just happen to mostly be messy sapphics”.

REVIEW: “Cerridwen’s Daughter” by Alex Grehy

Review of Alex Grehy, “Cerridwen’s Daughter,” Luna Station Quarterly 48 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Of all the stories in this issue I put off reading this one to the last, because I knew it would irritate me — for two simple and probably quite niche and idiosyncratic reasons (that most readers will not only be unbothered but probably wouldn’t even notice). First, I was immediately confronted with the “cutesy” variant spelling of Creirwy. I’m guessing Grehy intended “Craerwy” to be pronounced the same way as the original form; but Welsh orthography doesn’t work like that. Second, in the opening lines Craerwy addresses the reader, saying, “Have you never heard of me? No, of course you haven’t.” — when in fact, I have heard of her, when I was in high school I developed a role-playing character around her!

The story is ostensibly about Cerridwen’s daughter, but in truth Craerwy spends most of the story talking about her mother and her siblings; she herself does not come to life or act or do anything more than passively recite for more than half the story. It is only towards the very end that she actually does something beyond sitting and talking; and while I liked the climate-recovery message of the story, it ended up feeling like too little too late. I love retellings of myths, and I wish the Mabinogion was taken up more often; but I’m not sure that this story really did the original tales and characters justice.

REVIEW: “A Feather’s Weight” by Andrea Goyan

Review of Andrea Goyan, “A Feather’s Weight,” Luna Station Quarterly 48 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Josie is a care worker who has been tending Mrs. Cooke for the last two years; when Mrs. Cooke dies, she leaves Josie a single feather, and the weight of many memories.

I really loved the friendship and connection between Josie and Mrs. Cooke in this story, how real and fully-fledged both characters felt, and how intimate the story was without any of the usual trappings of intimacy.

REVIEW: “Blessing” by Jennifer Lyn Parsons

Review of Jennifer Lyn Parsons, “Blessing,” Luna Station Quarterly 48 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Kira is a member of Clan Thrush, a nomadic clan that serves the local communities as monster hunters. But after the death of her friend Thom in a monster-hunt gone bad, she leaves the Clan and strikes off on her own. But no matter how long she wanders, she cannot escape her grief for her friends and family who have died: Only the lady of death can remove that grief for her, and only Grannie’s songbirds can help her find the lady.

There was a lot of meandering in this story, a lot of retrospective references to isolated events, that never quite came together. The pace was very slow, with very little happening, and when things did happen, it was to characters who felt rather flat. This story didn’t really work for me.

REVIEW: “Ornithomancy” by Elizabeth Hinckley

Review of Elizabeth Hinckley, “Ornithomancy,” Luna Station Quarterly 48 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Tirza has won a lottery place in the next emigration to Sumeria and is unhappy about leaving her father behind, so she goes to an ornithomancer for advice (Ornithomancy is sort of like tarot, but with birds instead of just cards — but unlike ancient Greek divination, doesn’t involve any entrails.) The advice she gets forces her to confront her relationship with her father, in a way which I found extremely personal and touching and very real. Not every person is cut out to be a parent; not every person is very good at being a child. And yet, Tirza and her father find, in the end, a way to make it work. I liked the raw edges of this story, and its hopeful ending.

REVIEW: “The Prince & the Raven” by Rebecca Burton

Review of Rebecca Burton, “The Prince & the Raven,” Luna Station Quarterly 48 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

I would have liked this fairy tale-esque story better if it hadn’t taken all the frustrating bits of fairy tales instead of the good ones: The woman who sees a prince from the distance and falls hopelessly in love; the prince who has to marry or lose his lands, but cannot find a woman interesting enough. I love fairy tales, both traditional and modern, but cis-normative patriarchy-enforcing ones always end up disappointing me. This one tried to subvert those stereotypes, in the end, but not soon enough for it to be convincing.

But there was one very beautiful line in it, when the Moon tells the Raven-Maid: “Don’t lose your self as well as your heart.”

Good advice.

REVIEW: “Syrup-Tapping Season” by Laney Gaughan

Review of Laney Gaughan, “Syrup-Tapping Season,” Luna Station Quarterly 48 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

When I think of tapping maple trees for syrup, the last thing I think is: “Ah, yes, horror.” And yet, Gaughan’s story is deliciously horrific, full of creepy uncertainty and spreading terror. Totally incongruous, the setting and the genre, and thoroughly satisfying.