REVIEW: “Glissade” by Lindz McLeod

Review of Lindz McLeod, “Glissade” Cossmass Infinities 5 (2021): Read or purchase online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Sam learned how to walk through the woods in the Quiet from her father (a skill her brother Jamie never really understood). The Quiet is what allows Sam and her family to hunt, and at first, reading the story, the Quiet seems peaceful, tranquil, something good. It’s only as you read further along that you realise just what it is that Sam and her family are hunting…

An unexpectedly gruesome and vicious story!

REVIEW: “Syrup-Tapping Season” by Laney Gaughan

Review of Laney Gaughan, “Syrup-Tapping Season,” Luna Station Quarterly 48 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

When I think of tapping maple trees for syrup, the last thing I think is: “Ah, yes, horror.” And yet, Gaughan’s story is deliciously horrific, full of creepy uncertainty and spreading terror. Totally incongruous, the setting and the genre, and thoroughly satisfying.

REVIEW: “Planet, Paper, Space” by Melissa Embry

Review of Melissa Embry, “Planet, Paper, Space,” Luna Station Quarterly 22 (2015): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Max Villafranca is an origami artist who has paid for two weeks’ visit to the orbiting station Gaia, where he is very much the bumbling tourist that the long-suffering crew puts up with because it pays the bill. This was such an utterly charming mixture of the strange and unfamiliar and the ordinary, almost mundane. Max was an extremely disarming hero, and I felt great sympathy for Captain Nguyen having to put up with him. And I loved the way in which this story was slightly more than science fiction, it also had a fantastical element that segued always into horro that I was not expecting.

REVIEW: “After Colour” by Kiale Palpant and Oliver Herbort

Review of Kiale Palpant and Oliver Herbort, “After Colour”, in Around Distant Suns, ed. by Emma Johanna Puranen (Guardbridge Books, 2021): 63-72 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

This was such an unexpected story — unlike any of the other ones in the anthology. On the one hand, it’s probably as close to a horror story as this collection has; on the other hand, I want to describe it as “Exoplanets x ‘It’s a Beautiful Life'”. Even writing that feels like a contradiction! But it’s not, these competing descriptions really are the best way to explain this short, intriguing story.

REVIEW: “One Cloud at a Time: A Radio Play” by Priyanka Jha and Nanna Bach-Møller

Review of Priyanka Jha and Nanna Bach-Møller, “One Cloud at a Time: A Radio Play”, in Around Distant Suns, ed. by Emma Johanna Puranen (Guardbridge Books, 2021): 21-31. — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

This play was simply a joy to read. It was written as a dialogue between two scientists, one named Bach, one named Møller, and it moves from the intimate and mundane (trying to create life; trying to decide what to eat for dinner) to the tragic and serious (we try not to think about how often scientists are paid to keep their mouths shut, or the lengths governments will go to shut them up.)

If you’ve ever been bothered at the way conspiracies can take hold in people’s minds, forcing out the understanding that scientific knowledge can bring, this is a piece for you!

REVIEW: “Larvae” by Kai Taddei

Review of Kai Taddei, “Larvae,” Luna Station Quarterly 23 (2015): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This story combines two things I’m not a huge fan of — 2nd person POV and body horror — into something that I actually rather enjoyed. The mesmerising narration felt more like a person talking to themself, rather than instructions to the reader, resulting in a very intimate and emotionally draining glimpse into a sad and rather sordid life.