REVIEW: “Hafter: A Fairy Tale” by Lyndsie Manusos

Review of Lyndsie Manusos, “Hafter: A Fairy Tale,” Luna Station Quarterly 20 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

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.

REVIEW: “The Face Thief” by Torah Cottrill

Review of Torah Cottrill, “The Face Thief,” Luna Station Quarterly 20 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Fasel Inohiye lives on the tourist planet of Cornucopia and provides “personal services” to those who visit. It’s a pretty good job, bringing in decent money — and when he’s accosted in an alley after a well-paying night, his first thought is that he’s going to be mugged for his money. Instead, it was his face that the thief was seeking.

The rest of the story was about Fasel’s attempt to find someone to help him get his face back, and with good economy of words Cottrill managed to draw a couple of really sympathetic and engaging characters. A well put together story, that I enjoyed a lot.

REVIEW: “A Sky Without Smoke” by Jocelyn Koehler

Review of Jocelyn Koehler, “A Sky Without Smoke,” Luna Station Quarterly 20 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Steven and his brother Kevin live in Williamsburg, not far from the spaceport that sends regular rockets to Mars with all the luxuries that could only be obtained on earth. This story traces two days in their lives, and it is a beautiful mixture of the mundane — daily life, brotherhood, rivalries — and the momentous — when their life shifts and nothing is as it was before.

Really enjoyable!

REVIEW: “Soul Mate” by Paulene Turner

Review of Paulene Turner, “Soul Mate,” Luna Station Quarterly 49 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Cassidy Braithwaite is the “loving daughter of Charles and Lena Braithwaite. Treasured fiancé to Vaughan Gallagher” — and also an atheist. She never expected to end up as ghost upon her death. Unfortunately, while she waits for those who loved her to come to terms with her death, she discovers that she doesn’t actually want them to do so, because it means that they are moving on, and so must she. Vaughan might be ready to let her go, but she’s not ready to let him go.

This story could’ve been vaguely sweet and romantic, but instead was rather stalkerish and selfish. I appreciated Cassidy’s sidekick Franky, who recognized how problematic her relationship with Vaughan was (even if he was never able to convince her of it) — until the point when he started aiding her in her pursuit. Just not really the sort of story for me, I guess.

REVIEW: “The Paper Child” by Rebecca Harrison

Review of Rebecca Harrison, “The Paper Child,” Luna Station Quarterly 49 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

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.

REVIEW: “Eclectibles” by K. Hartless

Review of K. Hartless, “Eclectibles,” Luna Station Quarterly 49 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

When the story started, I thought this was going to be something I’d really enjoy; but it ended up being a bit too moralising, about the virtues of reading vs. the vices of screens, which I found both irritating and a bit ironic considering that I was reading this story in an electronically published journal, on my screen! And then Hartless chose J.K. Rowling as an example of an author that should always be kept on hand — “So many everyday ailments can be solved with a dose of Potter.” In 2022, it’s no longer a neutral choice to pick a noteworthy transphobe. In the end, I was pretty profoundly disappointed to see such a story printed in LSQ, which normally is extremely reliable in the quality and satisfaction of its stories.

REVIEW: “The Butterfly Eater” by Katherine Shats

Review of Katherine Shats, “The Butterfly Eater,” Luna Station Quarterly 49 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

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.

REVIEW: “The Goddess of Fear” by Ivy Grimes

Review of Ivy Grimes, “The Goddess of Fear,” Luna Station Quarterly 49 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This story had a typical generic-fantasy sort of feel to it, except for the choice of “fear” as the focal point for the titular goddess. I really enjoyed the way Grimes developed a liturgy and religion around fear, both receiving and destroying. So that was something a little bit different which made the rest of the story worth reading.