REVIEW: “Wayfarers” by Heather Morris

Review of Heather Morris, “Wayfarers”, Luna Station Quarterly 27 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: References to rape.

The titular wayfarers in Morris’s story are only vaguely hinted at, and the hints are not pretty — they are drug-users, they shriek and scream, they will rape “anyone they think can make babies,” as Meli, the head whore of Honeycomb, tells Athena, the narrator. As of the opening of the story, that class of people now contains Athena, whose period has just started and who “For twelve years I figured that one day I would wake up a boy. Bein’ a woman was worse than bein’ dead.”

Athena has to face not only the betrayal of her body but also the capture of her friend by the wayfarers. The only way to rescue the one is to come to terms with the other. In the end, I mostly felt sad for Athena. No one should have to feel resigned about being a woman, not when there are other options out there.

REVIEW: “Attrition” by Leslie J. Anderson

Review of Leslie J. Anderson, “Attrition”, Luna Station Quarterly 27 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This story had a lot of Neon Genesis Evangelion overtones — a motley collection of people and mechs they must control in order to save humanity. But since it was a short story rather than a drawn-out TV series, a proportionally higher percentage of story space was spent explaining what the mechs were and how they worked. At the end, I kind of wanted more story, and less explanation. (I also think there was a continuity error — pretty sure the two references to Mr. Hernandez were supposed to be to Mr. Henderson. Props for the character in the wheelchair, though.)

REVIEW: “Into the Starfish Heart” by J. M. Wetherell

Review of J. M. Wetherell, “Into the Starfish Heart”, Luna Station Quarterly 27 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This one was a bit off the mark for me. I spent a lot of the story confused about chronology (partly, I think, because the initial paragraph set me up to think that Ledo the artist was dead, but then it turned out they weren’t? At least I don’t think so? Like I said: Confusion.), and despite the fact that at times it felt like there was a lot of back-story being dumped in a bit clumsily, I still never felt like I got a good picture of just what, exactly, the setting was. It was frustrating, because I wanted to understand what was going on, but never quite did.

REVIEW: “When the Moon Fell Down” by L. Lark

Review of L. Lark, “When the Moon Fell Down”, Luna Station Quarterly 27 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This story surprised me with the deftness that it balanced upon fine lines — the line between urban fantasy and something richer and more wild, the line between witchcraft and madness. There were many times when I was uncertain how reliable a narrator Jone could be, and this uncertainty and tension gave a depth to this story that a lot of LSQ stories strive for but don’t quite reach.

My only complaint with the story was the use of the present tense, which I found so clunky it kept yanking me out of the story.

REVIEW: “Cara’s Heartsong” by Dawn Bonanno

Review of Dawn Bonanno, “Cara’s Heartsong”, Luna Station Quarterly 28 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Wow, this story, published four years ago, was surprisingly difficult to read in the current climes of mass protests and riots, and a lingering insidious disease. Bonanno I’m sure had no idea what 2020 would bring, but her story reads very much like a picture of our near future. Except for the bit where physiology doesn’t work the same way in Bonanno’s world as it does in ours — a very pleasant little bit of world-building that I enjoyed.

REVIEW: “The Question of the Blade” by Alex Yuschik

Review of Alex Yuschik, “The Question of the Blade”, Luna Station Quarterly 28 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

What a beautiful and satisfying story to read this was. It’s the story of two childhood friends, Fel and Bas, and the different ways their heritages and histories dictate their future. There was a richly built world in the background of them, and a steadfast love between them no matter what tried to keep them apart. I was only a little bit disappointed by the ending, because I would have liked space to have been left for more character development.

REVIEW: “Earth is a Crash Landing” by J. G. Formato

Review of J. G. Formato, “Earth is a Crash Landing”, Luna Station Quarterly 28 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Slavery.

This story was not at all what I expected. Celester, the narrator, is a self-described “Trashcan baby”, the sort of foundling who deserves to get stuck in a dead-end job issuing permits. And least, that is the facade that she puts up, not wanting to admit that there might be something else underneath her hard exterior. There are so many ways the story could then go, and none of the ways it did go were ones I could’ve imagined. There were twists and turns and hints and clues right the way through.

REVIEW: “All the Souls Like Candle Flames” by Vanessa Fogg

Review of Vanessa Fogg, “All the Souls Like Candle Flames”, Luna Station Quarterly 28 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

I continue to be not a huge fan of 2nd person narration — I’ve said it before, but I had being told what I am thinking or feeling — so that it takes something quite extraordinary for me to overcome my high bar for stories that open up with an instruction to me, the reader. Unfortunately, Fogg’s story did not manage to hurdle it, despite the 2nd person narration being restricted to the opening, scene setting paragraphs. But after having been told that I know the Sea Witch’s name (I don’t) or that maybe I’m already dead (nope, definitely not), I wasn’t in the right mood to find out the story of Mikki, and why a fish has feathers. I think this story could’ve been much stronger if those initial paragraphs had been simply stripped out.

REVIEW: “A Few Minutes More” by L. M. Magalas

Review of L. M. Magalas, “A Few Minutes More”, Luna Station Quarterly 28 (2016): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Suicide.

The premise of this story is simply: Susanna, by committing suicide, has forfeited her right to the remainder of her allotted days, but she is allowed to designate someone else as recipient.

I wouldn’t have ever thought a suicide story could be heartwarming, but this one was. Magalas handled the delicate subject matter with care and sensitivity, exploring the ways in which our actions affect those around us, positively and negatively, in a story full of warmth and hope.