REVIEW: “The Nymph” by JC Hoskins

Review of JC Hoskins, “The Nymph,” Luna Station Quarterly 20 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

I dove into this story with a good deal of trepidation, because second-person, present-tense narration without any purpose always puts me off. So I was greatly, greatly relieved to find out it wasn’t purposeless, and in fact Hoskins uses the different voices to great effect.

A good story for anyone who loves books!

REVIEW: “The Girl Who Can’t Say No” by Stephanie A. Craig

Review of Stephanie A. Craig, “The Girl Who Can’t Say No,” Luna Station Quarterly 20 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

If you, like me, read the title and thought “horror story”, you would not be wrong. What you might not have counted on (as I did not) was that this story would be straight of genie-in-the-bottle fairy tale, except set in space. A fun clash of genres and tropes!

REVIEW: “Face” by Amy Mills Klipstine

Review of Amy Mills Klipstine, “Face,” Luna Station Quarterly 49 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

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.

REVIEW: “Swallow It Down” by Sarah Dropek

Review of Sarah Dropek, “Swallow It Down,” Luna Station Quarterly 49 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This was a vivid, powerful story of a woman caring for her mother as she watches her die. I have not yet had to shepherd a parent through their final days yet, but I have watched friends do it and there is a ring of truth in the way Dropek takes this and turns it into something bleakly horrorful. A tough, but good, read.

REVIEW: “Experiment Ninety-Four” by Sarah Salcedo

Review of Sarah Salcedo, “Experiment Ninety-Four,” Luna Station Quarterly 49 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Caspian lives “decommissioned space station which orbited a nebula in a remote quadrant of space”, abandoned or forgotten by his parents, he doesn’t know which. During years of trying to stave off boredom and loneliness, Caspian has taken apart almost every instrument on the station, learning how they were made, and how to make his own things, continually experimenting.

Experiment Ninety-Four was the most experiment of all, and neither Caspian nor the reader could ever have imagined the outcome of it. Took me by surprise and resulted in a very satisfying — if slightly horrific and unsettling — story, with the added bonus of the lovely accompanying artwork, courtesy of the author.

(First published in Collective Realms Magazine, January 2021)

REVIEW: “Alistair Catfish” by Cindy Phan

Review of Cindy Phan, “Alistair Catfish,” Luna Station Quarterly 49 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

“You grant small wishes and complain” is an absolute stunner of a line, said by Colin Abrams, the narrator, to the titular Alistair Catfish, whom he rescued from a hurricane and rehabilitated in his bathtub, and who now owes Colin wishes. Small wishes only, and only granted with complaint.

This was was an ordinary twist on the traditional “fisherman catches a glamorous fish and is well rewarded” tale until it was slowly overcome by a creeping horror. I was not expecting the story to go where it did, from how it started. Kept me on my toes!

REVIEW: “Dog and Pony Show” by Robert Jeschonek

Review of Robert Jeschonek, “Dog and Pony Show”, Clarkesworld Issue 180, September (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

Wow, what an insanely creative and unsettling story! A dog isn’t a dog, soft isn’t soft, what breakfast actually could be is unimaginable, and playtime is terrifying torture.

The details and descriptions were written so well, as was our narrator Beneathy. Fantastically paced with well-fleshed out characters, this is a memorable story. I read this twice – the second time simply for the unsettling beauty of the prose.

This month, Clarkesworld stories have all had an element of hope, and this one gave us a bit of that as well. However, the ending was unexpected and so much worse than I would have imagined. Fantastic story.

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!