REVIEW: “What Happened at the Pond” by Christine Boulos

Review of Christine Boulos, “What Happened at the Pond,” Luna Station Quarterly 20 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Sexual assault.

What happened at the pond has happened more than once. This is the tale of two different happenings, two women who disappeared leaving nothing behind but their clothing and silver sparks in the depths of the pond. Part fairy tale, part murder mystery, I enjoyed this powerful story a heck of a lot.

REVIEW: “Hafter: A Fairy Tale” by Lyndsie Manusos

Review of Lyndsie Manusos, “Hafter: A Fairy Tale,” Luna Station Quarterly 20 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

When someone says their story is a fairy tale, that sets up certain expectations — about the type of character you’ll encounter, the style of writing, the general trend of the plot. If those expectations are not met, it had better be for good reason. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that that was always the case here. Probably I could have enjoyed this story more if I hadn’t been told that it was supposed to be a fairy tale.

REVIEW: “The Face Thief” by Torah Cottrill

Review of Torah Cottrill, “The Face Thief,” Luna Station Quarterly 20 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Fasel Inohiye lives on the tourist planet of Cornucopia and provides “personal services” to those who visit. It’s a pretty good job, bringing in decent money — and when he’s accosted in an alley after a well-paying night, his first thought is that he’s going to be mugged for his money. Instead, it was his face that the thief was seeking.

The rest of the story was about Fasel’s attempt to find someone to help him get his face back, and with good economy of words Cottrill managed to draw a couple of really sympathetic and engaging characters. A well put together story, that I enjoyed a lot.

REVIEW: “A Sky Without Smoke” by Jocelyn Koehler

Review of Jocelyn Koehler, “A Sky Without Smoke,” Luna Station Quarterly 20 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Steven and his brother Kevin live in Williamsburg, not far from the spaceport that sends regular rockets to Mars with all the luxuries that could only be obtained on earth. This story traces two days in their lives, and it is a beautiful mixture of the mundane — daily life, brotherhood, rivalries — and the momentous — when their life shifts and nothing is as it was before.

Really enjoyable!

REVIEW: “The Social Phobic’s Guide to Interior Design” by Sarah Grey

Review of Sarah Grey, “The Social Phobic’s Guide to Interior Design,” Flash Fiction Online 103 (April 2022): 26-28 — Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Grey captures exceedingly well the experience of being out in public, terrified of anyone noticing you or asking you a question. And it took me all the way until the end of the story to realise there is not a speculative drop in it.

(First published in Flash Fiction Online 2013).

REVIEW: “A Midsummer Night’s Abduction” by Jennie Evenson

Review of Jennie Evenson, “A Midsummer Night’s Abduction,” Flash Fiction Online 103 (April 2022): 22-25 — Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

The aliens have arrived, and they’ve captured Shakespeare — they need him to write a new play to convince their homeworlds to cease their war. So who do they turn to when Shakespeare is recalcitrant? An adjunct university lecturer, who researches Shakespeare, of course.

This was a rollicking fun story, full of humor, which I enjoyed a lot.

(First published in Every Day Fiction 2018).

REVIEW: “On the Anniversary of Your Passing” by Thomas K. Carpenter

Review of Thomas K. Carpenter, “On the Anniversary of Your Passing,” Flash Fiction Online 103 (April 2022): 17-20 — Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

I won’t give away too much of the story if I quibble with its title: Instead of “anniversary”, it should be “anniversaries“. This not-quite-a-time-travel story hinted at complexities that are never quite explained, but the ending is satisfying enough that I didn’t really care about the unanswered questions I had.