REVIEW: “As for Peace, Call it Murder” by C. S. E. Cooney

Review of C. S. E. Cooney, “As for Peace, Call it Murder”, in Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones, and E. Catherine Tobler, Sword and Sonnet (Ate Bit Bear, 2018) — 37-46. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

What happens to poets during war? If our own history is anything to go by, nothing very good. The poet centered in this story dies almost before the story even gets started (so soon does she die this is hardly a spoiler). Quattromanni is a warrior out of necessity, not by nature or by design. She is just a singer, that is all — but her words have the power to move people, to get into their psyches and infect them, to finally drive them to their knees in surrender, to stop the war and the killing.

I found the story of how Quattromanni’s death became the birth of peace interesting and engaging — but what I really loved were the Warbirds. They are too great a delight to spoil here: Read the story to find out how wonderful they are.

REVIEW: “Though She Be But Little” by C. S. E. Cooney

Review of C. S. E. Cooney, “Though She Be But Little”, Uncanny Magazine 18 (2017): Read Online. Reviewed by Jodie Baker.

C. S. E. Cooney has produced a distinctive world full of pirates, animated stuffed animals, and world changing magic. Readers who enjoy stories from the New Weird genre will find plenty of surreal, unexplained fantasy in this tale. Readers who like their weird mixed evenly with charm will enjoy “Though She Be But Little” even more as Cooney mixes in wry pirate jokes, and off-beat details, with her more bizarre, haunting creations.

The sky in Emma Anne’s world went silver one day, and suddenly everything changed. Overnight, Emma Anne went from being ‘Mrs. Emma A. Santiago,Navy widow, age sixty-five’ to ‘eight years old in her jimjams and Velcro sneakers. One belt, one tin can on string, two stuffed toys the richer. Sans house, sans car, sans monthly Bunco night with her girlfriends of forty years, sans everything.’ “Though She Be But Little” has a keen eye for subtler horrors as well as presenting a truly terrifying monster in ‘the Loping Man’ who is coming for Emma Anne.

“Though She Be But Little” is ultimately a story about transformations, good and bad, and quietly about female friendship. The ending, which presents a fantastic scene of monstrous women coming together, was my favourite part.