This story had a lovely immersive quality that really drew me in. It was but one incident, one battle, in a longer war, but it had everything I needed to care for the characters and wish them the best.
Content note: Death of a parent.
This was a quiet, reflective story of Mattie and her mother, a witch who loved to cook and who died of a stroke years before, a story of intertwined generations and living up to your mother’s expectations. There wasn’t much to it, just a series of scenes, but they hung together in a way that gave the story a nice weight. It’s not necessarily a story you’ll remember, but it is a story that feels worth the time it takes to read.
I was absolutely delighted to come across another story by Pueyo, whose work I’ve enjoyed before. This one did not disappoint, soaked through with Brazilian mythology and cultural history. With a two out of two record for quality short stories, I’m now very interested to read more of Pueyo’s work!
This was a quiet, contemplative story of an old soldier, too old and arthritic to take part in the battle, forced to sit behind and wait to see if the others, including his granddaughter, would return. You can feel the soldier’s unhappiness at feeling useless, and the way he comes to terms with how it must have been for his family when he the one off fighting, in the first battle. Though very little actually happened in the story, I thought this was quite successful.
There was a lot I liked about this story — the central idea of lexical engineering, wherein words once written down must become true, meaning a trained lexical engineer can make a plane fly simply by using the right words — but a lot that also didn’t quite work for me. There were abrupt shifts in focus from one character to another, and also inexplicable shifts in tense. In the end, I was left with a feeling that it was a great idea that could have been better.
There was some absolutely delicious world-building in this story, introduced to the reader in a deft and accomplished manner, with a heart-breakingly beautiful ending. This is a masterpiece of a short story!
Content note: Miscarriage.
This wonderful story took the usual selkie trope and turned it on its head, and I absolutely loved every single minute of reading it. Definitely one of the better stories to come out of LSQ!
This is a quick read which is very satisfying. There is a point in this story — near the beginning — where I broke into a sudden grin. Most people living on earth believe that humans are the only sentient life in the universe; but one lucky man knows that aliens exist — he’s won the lottery!
I love stories that play around with what personal technology will be like in the future — instead of laptops and mobile phones, there’ll be personal robots and chip implants and holo-vision. Yet these sorts of stories can often struggle to say or do anything new. Jones managed to hit the sweet spot, combining realistic technological developments with a unique twist, with the added bonus of really, really likeable characters, and a bit at the end that made me gasp and then made me cry. Thumbs up!
Content note: death.
This story explored a darker side of magic and magic use, drawing analogies with drugs and drug use. Mali doesn’t approve of Nick’s getting mixed up with that sort of stuff — but when he turns up dead on her doorstep, she’s not going to let her friend’s death go unavenged. Of course, nothing is ever as easy as that, and the more Mali protests against the use of magic, the more inevitable her own use of it is. This was a pretty dark story, all in all.