REVIEW: “This Lexicon of Bone and Feathers” by Carlie St. George

Review of Carlie St. George, “This Lexicon of Bone and Feathers”, in Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones, and E. Catherine Tobler, Sword and Sonnet (Ate Bit Bear, 2018) — 291-307. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

This is a peculiar little story that I enjoyed very much and have a hard time describing or summarising. Where to begin? There are so many little bits and pieces and aspects of it that if I try to highlight one of them I’d be leaving out crucial others. Shall I start with the difficulties facing inter-species academic conferences? Or how everything changes when the unthinkable happens? Or perhaps the very distinct characters, each drawn from very distinct species, with distinct modes of communication, not just in their languages but in the way they interact with the world. Any one of these things that I could choose to talk about wouldn’t begin to give a proper picture of the complexity that went into this story.

Perhaps if there is one thing that sums up the story it is this: The poetry made from teeth. Wanna know more? Read the story.

REVIEW: Stories from Daily Science Fiction, September 25-29, 2017

Reviews of stories published in Daily Science Fiction from September 25 through 29, 2017. Reviewed by Caitlin Levine.

“Your Life Unfolds, and Then–” by Barbara A. Barnett, Sept 25, 2017: Read Online.

My favorite story from this week! Check out the full review here.

“A Cost-Effective Analysis for the De-Extinction of the Woolly Mammoth” by Ronald D Ferguson, Sept 26, 2017: Read Online.

Ferguson gives us the dialogue from a short lecture on the costs of bringing back an extinct species, with a humorous ending. This is one of those stories that seems mostly a set-up for the twist at the end, but it is short enough to work well.

“Progress” by John Nadas, Sept 27, 2017: Read Online.

Nadas looks at a world where “units” – which sound a lot like humans – are being created as manual labor in a society of “superior” creatures – which could possibly be robots. The dialogue reads clearly as one side of an interview with a biologist who champions the use of these units, using arguments reminiscent of those favoring robots and AIs. I’m ambivalent about this story: it made me think without providing easy answers or resolutions, but I found it somewhat bland.

“When He Saw Her” by Cory Josiah Easley, Sept 28, 2017: Read Online.

Easley describes a typical romance between a boy and a girl, with a twist: They both live in a society where heterosexual relationships are treated with the disdain and discrimination society often deals to homosexual couples.

I thought this story had a lot of potential for complicated critical thinking that didn’t get fully explored. But it seems to me a great tool for those struggling to overcome their own prejudices: an inside look at these experiences using characters that resonate with a straight reader.

“Astronauts Can’t Touch You” by Carlie St. George, Sept 29, 2017: Read Online.

A well-written, engaging look at the personal nature of grief and its relation to emotional distance. St. George evokes strong emotions that will be recognizable to anyone who has lost a loved one. In a word: tragic. The metaphor of astronauts is played against the story’s plot of an alien attack. I liked how this story explored the complex ravages of grief through metaphor, but I found it unrelentingly, devastatingly sad.