REVIEW: “THH*SH*THHH” by Aimee Ogden

Review of Aimee Ogden, “THH*SH*THHH”, Analog Science Fiction and Fact March/April (2021): 78–79 (Kindle) – Purchase Here. Reviewed by John Atom.

Teller attends the funeral of a member of a near-immortal species, who died unexpectedly as result of of an accident. The rest of the species have a hard time coping with that being’s death.

The author employs a variety of linguistic tools to emphasize the “alieness” of the “THH*SH*THHH” species (such as different pronouns), which I found more distracting than immersive. By the end, the story doesn’t offer much to help the reader empathize with the alien’s struggle to accept death.

REVIEW: “If a Tree Doesn’t Fall” by Jerry Oltion

Review of Jerry Oltion, “If a Tree Doesn’t Fall”, Analog Science Fiction and Fact March/April (2021): 69–74 (Kindle) – Purchase Here. Reviewed by John Atom.

During a camping trip in the woods, Vance discovers an antigravity device up on a tree. Thinking it as humanity’s solution to the climate crisis, he risks his life to collect it.

This is a simple and straightforward story, effective without relying on many bells and whistles. Vance’s excitement about the antigravity device and his herculean attempts to recover it from the tree are conveyed excellently by the author and create enough tension to make the reader care about the outcome. I’m not sure if Vance’s optimism about the device is warranted, but I doubt the author intended for the story to have any prophetic value. Overall, a delightfully entertaining read.

REVIEW: “Blood Feathers”

Review of Anonymous, “Blood Feathers”, Luna Station Quarterly 45 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This is a story of a woman who is lost inside herself, lost inside the trapping of being a woman, being a mother, being “a support, a failsafe, for her family.” She doesn’t have time for friends, for hobbies, for anything more than a linear life of one thing after another. But there’s more to Ren’s life than that, and we the readers are given intermittent glimpses, as the unfamiliar breaks through the routine, as the fantastical interferes with the normal, as Ren herself tries to reconstruct the memories she once lost. It’s an eerie, unsettling story, smashingly done.

REVIEW: “Heaven-Bound” by Hayli McClain

Review of Hayli McClain, “Heaven-Bound”, Luna Station Quarterly 45 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

College student Ann — disowned by her family, with no friends or connections, no one to miss her — goes off into the woods one night, intending to disappearing. Instead, she meets Percy, who is trying to pull down the moon, and all in the name of true love.

This was an absolutely adorable and delightful love story and I really enjoyed it!

REVIEW: “Mars Ascending” by Hannah Whiteoak

Review of Hannah Whiteoak, “Mars Ascending”, Luna Station Quarterly 45 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: death of parent, stillbirth.

Living amongst the effects of climate change is something so close to our present lives that it seems more like ordinary fiction rather than science fiction; living at a time when people can escape the rising seas by jetting off to Mars, however, feels still like a distant dream. And yet, stories like Whiteoak’s make it clear how quickly these two lives are converging. I found “Mars Ascending” poignant and touching and it felt very, very real. (And Whiteoak nailed the ending.) Well done!

REVIEW: “Margins” by Elizabeth Hinckley

Review of Elizabeth Hinckley, “Margins”, Luna Station Quarterly 44 (2020): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Adrian’s life has always been lived at the margins, “where all of the excitement, beauty, and magic were.” At the start, I was excited to read more about that life, especially the summers he spends with his father the circus-worker, but we got so much history at the beginning, and not enough story, that I lost interest. I kept reading, though, and was rewarded by a sharp, sudden crossing of a margin about half-way through (a transition point that I wish had come much earlier). What came after was still somewhat plodding at times, but was overall intriguing.

REVIEW: “Of Moonlight and Music” by Kayla Whittle

Review of Kayla Whittle, “Of Moonlight and Music”, Luna Station Quarterly 44 (2020): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Every full moon the circus comes to Elsie’s town, but none of the townspeople ever go; only strangers visit the circus. Until one month, when Elsie wakes up to a sign that marks her out as the first of her village to be called to the circus. “Everyone comes to the circus to find something they’ve been missing,” the Ringmaster tells her when she arrives, but Elsie visits all the stalls and sees all the performances and none of them are what she is looking for. Instead, her missing piece is something entirely different — something that made me really really happy when she finally found it. This was a quiet story overall, but rather deftly done.

REVIEW: “Skyboss” by Rocky Breen

Review of Rocky Breen, “Skyboss”, Luna Station Quarterly 44 (2020): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Camille has dreamed of going to the stars ever since third grade, and while a chance to cover the Strato Circus’s show in honor of the comet Stephan-Oterma isn’t quite the same thing, it’s still closer than anything else she’s achieved — but the assignment isn’t without its dangers, or its costs.

For being set in the future, there was a delightfully steam-punk feel to this story. It was also exceptionally realistic; every step of Camille’s journey into the stratosphere felt believable and relatable. This was a seriously gripping story which I really enjoyed.