REVIEW: “The Heavenly Dreams of Mechanical Trees” by Wendy Nikel

Review of Wendy Nikel, “The Heavenly Dreams of Mechanical Trees,” Luna Station Quarterly 52 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Bita is a botanist living in a world where xylem and phloem have been replaced with metal and gears. There are no botanical trees any more, just metal contraptions that serve the same air-purifying purpose. Only these trees aren’t alive enough to reproduce, they have to be replaced when their parts wear out. And they are all relentlessly the same.

Ailanthus lives in a world of repetition and silence, shuttered away from the world fated to perform the same actions over and over with no way to communicate with anyone. Until Bita comes along, and is the first person who can hear what Ailanthus has been dying to say.

This story was a first for me — the first time I’ve reviewed a story for a second time, at SFFReviews! I recognized the title as soon as I saw it, but remembered little of the story itself. It was curious to go back and reread

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