REVIEW: “This Stitch, This Time” by Anna Martino

Review of Anna Martino, “This Stitch, This Time”, Clarkesworld Issue 182, November (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

Very imaginative concept. Just like the last story from this issue of Clarkesworld, I find it enjoyable when disparate passions are combined to make a beautiful tale. Space suit seamstress is a science fiction profession I have not encountered before, and I love it!

A quick read, yet suffused with a lot of emotion.

REVIEW: “Dark Waters Still Flow” by Alice Towey

Review of Alice Towey, “Dark Waters Still Flow”, Clarkesworld Issue 182, November (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

Such a good story! Soft yet logical, I enjoyed every sentence. I don’t mean to sound partial, but this is why I love women science fiction writers. There was such beauty in the descriptions, the poetry, the minute details – this is a story you want to take the time to absorb.

The level of detail in this story surprised me, and then I read that apart from writing, Towey works as a civil engineer specializing in water resources management. That explains why she had such knowledge of the subject at hand. I do love it when writers combine their two favored disciplines in this manner.

Very enjoyable story. Read slowly. Savor it.

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: “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: “Through” by Eric Fomley and Rich Larson

Review of Eric Fomley and Rich Larson, “Through”, Clarkesworld Issue 181, October (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

Fast paced and full of twists, this was a one-sitting read. I don’t always read short stories in one sitting, despite their size and the possibility of doing so. But this one made me ignore everything else because I just had to find out what exactly was going on.

From the very beginning, there is intrigue and a build up of expectation. The authors very cleverly reveal a little at a time, sometimes raising more questions while simultaneously giving us readers tidbits of information. It felt like a much larger story skillfully condensed into short fiction. Extremely engaging read.

REVIEW: “Rain Falling in the Pines” by Lavie Tidhar

Review of Lavie Tidhar, “Rain Falling in the Pines”, Clarkesworld Issue 181, October (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

Really well-defined world-building, with delicious hints of a broader world in the background. I’ve love to read a longer story set in this world. Multiple stories, even.

Geshem is a layered, interesting character, a First Human who lives in a world full of Sapis and genetically modified creatures. It’s a cyberpunk dystopia, and it’s been a while since I’ve read a good cyberpunk story, so this was even more appreciated.

Lovely concept and plot. Multiple characters, and even the minor ones were given strong personalities. I always love when an author pays that kind of attention to detail.

REVIEW: “Love Unflinching, at Low- to Zero-G” by M. L. Clark

Review of M. L. Clark, “Love Unflinching, at Low- to Zero-G”, Clarkesworld Issue 181, October (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

A veterinarian in space wrangles with ethics, morality and duty, with inter-species collaborative space stations thrown in for good measure.

The Doc is getting on in years, but they are still very committed to ensuring a healthy, balanced existence on the station, amongst all species and their companions. But humans are only human, after all, and Doc takes it upon themselves to try and diffuse the situation before it becomes a potentially disastrous actual situation.

The descriptions were lovely, the characters were well-defined, and the ending was particularly poignant. Long yet engaging.

REVIEW: “Legend of the Giant” by Fei Dao

Review of Fei Dao, “Legend of the Giant”, Clarkesworld Issue 181, October (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

A strange story that veers into philosophical discourse while referencing the meaning of work, beauty and indeed, life.

A tad more abstract than I’ve come to expect from Clarkesworld, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The story follows a mechanical giant who has been tasked with destroying old buildings and creating vitreous bricks out of the debris. These bricks, he has been told, will be useful for future projects. Humans are missing, however, and he doesn’t wonder what shape those projects may take without humanity around.

Except he encounters a killer mecha, a philosopher, and sentient soap bubbles along the way. This shapes and builds his perspective throughout the story.

A good story worth spending time with.

REVIEW: “The Answer Was Snails” by Bo Balder

Review of Bo Balder, “The Answer Was Snails”, Clarkesworld Issue 181, October (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

The protagonist, Robin, is trapped in a terrarium by an alien. A mish-mash of creatures who have no business being placed together, but they are. And that’s why every day is a struggle for Robin.

What keeps them going is knowing their partner Annie is nearby, unfortunately trapped in an adjacent terrarium.

It’s difficult for both of them, but they decide to try to be together, if they can’t be free. There’s a lot at stake and they stay strong and hopeful throughout.

REVIEW: “Paper of Elephants” by Brenda Cooper

Review of Brenda Cooper, “Paper of Elephants”, Clarkesworld Issue 181, October (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

A heartfelt, touching story of two siblings running an elephant sanctuary in Zimbabwe.

David is the finance guy, and Eleanor guides the tours. Siaal, a young elephant, paints, and David decides to sell his artwork as NFTs in order to raise funds to save the sanctuary.

The piece develops and flows beautifully, and we can feel Eleanor’s helplessness and frustration – why should it be so hard to save these beautiful creatures?

Art is the focus, and in a different yet startlingly beautiful and raw way, art saves the day. The ending made my heart happy.