When someone says their story is a fairy tale, that sets up certain expectations — about the type of character you’ll encounter, the style of writing, the general trend of the plot. If those expectations are not met, it had better be for good reason. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that that was always the case here. Probably I could have enjoyed this story more if I hadn’t been told that it was supposed to be a fairy tale.
I loved this story about a woman who is able to speak with time! Christie conveyed the way Time spoke to Katie, its language and vocabulary and ‘voice’, with great skill and conviction. Short and sweet, this was very satisfying.
This odd little story started off like a Scottish folktale and ended up firmly in the realm of horror. For most readers, everything we have have been taught has taught us to sympathise with the mother who only wishes to save her child; and yet, every step of the way, but most especially at the end, the mother of this story is terrifying.
What’s the best way to eat a butterfly? Well, “they have to be fresh or it’s so much harder to extract the hope.” Lines like this pepper this vaguely creepy little tale, always just close enough to normal for its weirdness to be unsettling. There’s something sacrilegious, the way the butterfly eater delights in her prey, and it’s wildly entrancing to read.
After intriguing opening paragraphs (which made me wonder if the story was intended to be a metaphor for plastic surgery), I found this story slow to get started and actually go anywhere. There was a lot of description and repetition; and overall, I think this just wasn’t the story for me.
Annie Warren only speaks in tongues, and so she learned from an early age not to speak at all — until the day comes when tragedy hits her family and she cries out for revenge, waking the sleeping giants below.
This was a well-crafted story — well paced and engaging, and keeping my interest the entire time.
Small gods always put me in mind of Pratchett, and I have to wonder if the allusion was intentional here, as Danit befriends a small god who becomes a bigger god as she invests her energy in him, confessing sins that she has never admitted to anyone before.
Quite possibly my favorite part of the story was Danit’s autonomous armor.
This story reads like a fever-dream, so blurred are the lines between fantasy and reality, a taut narration of a woman imprisoned by her life for one moment becoming free. This is the sort of story I’d love to see fanart for!
Another food-themed story from this issue of LSQ! This one was a story of the loneliness that many people felt during the Covid lockdowns, especially those who lived alone and felt their worlds contract around a single collection of rooms. In the midst of such isolation, the narrator reaches out and invites the planets to dinner, and finds a grain of hope.
I picked this story as the first to read from the most recent LSQ issue because I was hungry and because getting periogi of any quality where I live is quite an achievement. Hałas’s story had everything I wanted (other than actual pierogi): It’s a wonderful mix of fact and fairy tale, and the sense of groundedness and comfort that comes from a bowlful of pierogi permeates the entire thing. Hałas has a real touch with words evoking brilliant mental images — not easy to do in a reader who is mild aphantasia! So I was all the more impressed.