REVIEW: “The Scarlet Cloak” by Karen Bovenmyer

Review of Karen Bovenmyer, “The Scarlet Cloak,” Luna Station Quarterly 24 (2015): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Bullying, abuse, & harassment; murder ideation; cannibalism; references to rape.

One thing that’s interesting about reading the back archives of a journal is seeing which stories age well (or don’t age at all!) and which don’t. I feel like this one ends up in the latter category: A story where the central heroine is part of the police force is a bit harder to swallow in 2021 than it may have been in 2015.

Then again, I’m not entirely sure I would’ve appreciated this story when it first came out: It is too gruesome, too violent for my tastes.

(First appeared in The Crimson Pact Volume 3, 2012.)

REVIEW: “The Sidhe” by Elizabeth Archer

Review of Elizabeth Archer, “The Sidhe,” Luna Station Quarterly 24 (2015): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

I felt like this story rather confused sidhe with dryads. More precisely, I didn’t see what made the sidhe characteristically a sidhe — she could have been any type of woodland spirit. I would have liked to see something that was a bit more distinctive and fleshed out than what I got.

REVIEW: “The Corn Grows Back Every Year” by Riley Vainionpaa

Review of Riley Vainionpaa, “The Corn Grows Back Every Year,” Luna Station Quarterly 24 (2015): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This was sci-fi with a good dollop of horror (content note: body horror/mutilation). At first neither Peggy nor Mellie understand what’s going on with Mellie’s body, or why she appears to have developed special powers. But then they agree to systematically experiment, driven by the need to know, to understand.

This was an odd little story!

REVIEW: “Retriever” by MK Sauer

Review of MK Sauer, “Retriever,” Luna Station Quarterly 24 (2015): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Cannibalism, mention of rape.

Borr is a Bio-Organic Retrieval Robot, part-flesh, part-metal, but wholly able to withstand the ravages of the Oxidation — well, at least better than humans can, by a long shot. She’s been sent out from base camp to retrieve any fuel, water, books, or survivors that she can find. But not all survivors want to be retrieved.

The most remarkable thing about this story was the slang that Sauer developed. It was familiar enough to be (mostly) intelligible, but foreign enough to feel realistically future. The use (or non use) of this slang give the characters each distinctive voices, and made this story something just a little out of the ordinary.

REVIEW: “On Aerdwen Green” by Sandi Leibowitz

Review of Sandi Leibowitz, “On Aerdwen Green,” Luna Station Quarterly 24 (2015): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Great-King Donnil lost the Chalice of Plenty and now his great-grandson Great-King Bardo has commanded the Masters or Mistresses of every House to go on a quest to find it again. Most houses didn’t follow the command, but House Dilvan did, despite (or perhaps because…) its young Mistress Beldaria being only 16 years old. But Beldaria is not the focus of the story, rather, that’s Enzi, her maidservant.

Two things I really liked about this story: One was the sharp, deft way that Leibowitz depicted class distinctions, how one and the same quest could be experienced so differently by the gentry and by their servants. It’s easy to feel sympathy for Enzi and to disapprove of Beldaria and the other Masters and Mistresses. The other was what actually happened on Aerdwen Green, and the way in which the reader was held so long in ignorance of the significance of those events. It was magical.

REVIEW: “The Five Snowflakes” by Rebecca Harrison

Review of Rebecca Harrison, “The Five Snowflakes”, Luna Station Quarterly 24 (2015): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

What an excellent, novel fairy tale this was, told in beautiful and imaginative language.

Katla, the daughter of the Snow King and Snow Queen, grew up in a life of magic and luxury, learning the stories of her past and dreaming up stories of her future when she would inherit the Arctic kingdom.

Until her little brother is born and displaces her as heir, and she is married off to the ruler of a southern kingdom. When heartbroken she leaves her frozen realm, she brings with her five snowflakes. As you’d expect with a proper fairy tale, these snowflakes contain within them all the power necessary for Katla to bring about her happy ending.

REVIEW: “Cold Flame” by Sheryl Normandeau

Review of Sheryl Normandeau, “Cold Flame”, Luna Station Quarterly 24 (2015): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Cecelia works in the Arctic seed-bank vault, a quiet, easy job until the day that a seed is stolen from the vault. It’s no ordinary seed — it’s the vault’s most precious one — and it’s no ordinary thief either, on two counts: 1. both Cecelia and the thief have had bio-enhancements done; 2. he’s her ex-boyfriend.

This isn’t the sort of story that’ll necessarily thrill you or wow you or awe you, but it is good for a bit of light entertainment.