REVIEW: “Mom Heart” by Will McIntosh

Review of Will McIntosh, “Mom Heart”, Clarkesworld Issue 182, November (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

A lovely, touching story about a mom, a dad, two sweet kids, and a mom heart that is so important. Family-oriented sci-fi is not a common choice, but I’m glad this author made that choice.

This has gone on my list of favorites, and with good reason. It has all the story elements that a story must ideally have to be good in theory, but it also has such feeling and depth that makes it so much more. This story focuses on will and choice, which manifests in different ways through the story, but the outcome of choices – and the timeliness of those choices – is what makes all the difference.

REVIEW: “The Birth of a Child” by Joyce Chng

Review of Joyce Chng, “The Birth of a Child,” Luna Station Quarterly 19 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

What a beautiful pearl of a story, with so many wonderful threads. For one, it captures beautifully all the ambivalence that can surround childbirth, how it can be a combination of the most beautiful thing ever and the most cold, sterile, and heartless thing, too. For another, it mixes traditional fairy tale and romance tropes with modern concerns of immigration, alienation, foreigness, and cultural appropriation, creating a perfect blend of fantasy and Vietnamese culture. I really loved this, absolutely stellar.

REVIEW: “How the Queen Bought Beauty” by Sandi Leibowitz

Review of Sandi Leibowitz, “How the Queen Bought Beauty,” Luna Station Quarterly 19 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

There’s an art to telling fairy tales, the way they use stereotypes and tropes and specific, rhythmic, almost formulaic language. It makes them exceptionally hard to write (in my opinion!). This story sometimes read more like notes for a fairy tale than the finished version itself: Still a good read, but not quite hitting the mark for me.

REVIEW: “A Well-Worn Path” by Anamaria Curtis

Review of Anamaria Curtis, “A Well-Worn Path”, Clarkesworld Issue 181, October (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

An exceedingly well written story. Emotional and poignant, it is the kind of story that will stay with you. I enjoyed the deft handling of the characters and their personalities & motivations.

Norami is such a layered & well developed character, as is Leona. The detail of this world, and the scifi background are both very well done. This review, in fact, is starting to feel like a list of compliments! But I really did enjoy this story. The plot, prose and attention to detail were all perfect. A wonderful read.

REVIEW: “Bossy Boots” by Chikodili Emelumadu

Review of Chikodili Emelumadu, “Bossy Boots,” Luna Station Quarterly 19 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This was not the sort of story that I expect from LSQ — full-on male gaze from a sexed-up narrator. I was torn reading the opening paragraphs; on the one hand, Emelumadu did a great job at portraying this certain type of character. On the other hand, one reason I enjoy reading LSQ is to get away from people like that.

REVIEW: “The Stone Children” by Shannon Norland

Review of Shannon Norland, “The Stone Children,” Luna Station Quarterly 19 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Bad break-up; miscarriage.

This was delightfully creepy, a story that makes you squirm in your seat while reading it. The titular stone children are cold, and needy, and perplexing, and sate a need in ways which seem all wrong. But none of what went on in the early and middle parts of the story prepared me for the twist at the end.

REVIEW: “The Filigreed Cage” by Krystal Claxton

Review of Krystal Claxton, “The Filigreed Cage,” Luna Station Quarterly 19 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Underage marriage, forced marriage

The overwhelming misogyny and patriarchal structures in this story, imposed upon humans by the Overseers that are (of course!) only doing their best to keep the humans safe and unharmed, made for quite an unpleasant read. While I’m glad that some of the characters managed to escape in the end, I wasn’t so keen on the fact that Valerie only did so in pursuit of her man; there was nothing reflective in the story which indicated a realisation of how wrong the situation set up by the Overseers was.

(First published in Fireside Magazine 2013).
~

REVIEW: “Rose Meets a Gentleman” by Che Gilson

Review of Che Gilson, “Rose Meets a Gentleman,” Luna Station Quarterly 19 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

10 year old Rose buys herself a pair of thousand league snowshoes with three pence and a wish, and sets off north to find the Snow Queen.

This was a lovely fairy tale about the importance of cherishing your dreams, and how sometimes it’s worth trading in a small dream for the opportunity to obtain a big dream.

REVIEW: “Ceilidh McCallum Versus the Super Evil Fairy Lady” by Gabrielle Lissauer

Review of Gabrielle Lissauer, “Ceilidh McCallum Versus the Super Evil Fairy Lady,” Luna Station Quarterly 19 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

If you, like me, read the title and wondered if it telegraphed something about the central characters of the story: The answer is yes, this is told from the point of view of a young girl, probably 5 or 6. Or rather, it’s told (partially) in what an adult thinks the point of view of a child of around that age would be; and I confess that I do not think it was done very successfully or accurately. This might be the story for some of you; it was not the story for me.

(There also appears to be a continuity error: When Ceilidh sets off on her quest, the kitten Trouble is left behind in the ruins of her battlefield; but half-way through her quest, Ceilidh is clutching Trouble close. Since Trouble plays a crucial role in Ceilidh’s defeat of the Super Evil Fairy Lady, this is a problematic oversight.)