REVIEW: “The Drover’s Ghost” by Melanie Rees

Review of Melanie Rees’s “The Drover’s Ghost.” Persistent Visions (21 July 2017) Read online. Reviewed by Essence B. Scott.

“The Drover’s Ghost” by Melanie Rees confused me. I had a hard time differentiating between the two protagonists, Stewie and Mutton; their voices sounded too much alike in my head. I didn’t feel drawn into the story or the setting. The story also seemed like it wandered a bit, much like the main characters in the story.

Everything in this story felt flat, from the characters to the world. Honestly, this story could have been better had Rees just sat with it a little more. Generally, I am intrigued by ghosts that haunt; however, the ghosts here seem overzealous to keep the peace. I wonder what would have happened if the ghosts had awareness. These ghosts that haunt only know bloodshed, and one seems attracted to Mutton.

The dream sequence in this story feels obviously like a surprise. One minute I’m reading about the ghosts that come because of bloodshed (even accidental bloodshed) and the next minute I’m in a sequence about Mutton’s past with a guy named Philip (we learn that Mutton’s real name is also Philip, only adding to my confusion).

Overall, this story was not one of Persistent Visions’ best and felt that they could have chosen another story.

REVIEW: Stories from Daily Science Fiction, September 18-22, 2017

Reviews of stories published in Daily Science Fiction from September 18 through 22, 2017. Reviewed by Caitlin Levine.

“The City’s Gratitude” by Meg Candelaria, Sept 18, 2017: Read Online.

The narrator of this story is a great cop, but she’s been stuck behind a desk dealing with crazies. The latest one thinks he’s a time traveler. Candelaria keeps us focused on the world of the cop, telling us the story of the time traveler between the lines. What comes out is a sideways look at sexism in the police force interwoven with the uncertainties of time travel.

This story comes with a trigger warning, which Daily SF is understandably coy about since it concerns major spoilers. For those who prefer to know the sensitive material before reading, I have included a more detailed trigger warning below. If you don’t want any spoilers, skip over the paragraph between the bold tags, and check out the next review.

Ready? Here it is:

***SPOILERS AHEAD!*** Trigger Warning:The time traveler fails to stop nine-eleven, and the cop makes disparaging and cruelly ironic remarks about taking down the twin towers.***END OF SPOILERS***

“MAD Men” by Corey Ethan Sutch, Sept 19, 2017: Read Online.

A humorous, satirical look at the concepts of nuclear mutually assured destruction and personal self-defense armaments. Sutch asks us to consider not current situations but an extreme world populated by two companionable and argumentative neighbors. This story is worth a laugh on the first read and some deep thought on the second.

“Farewell, Amanda” by Buzz Dixon, Sept 20, 2017: Read Online.

My favorite story from this week! Check out the full review here.

“Maybe Next Time” by E.O. Hargreaves, Sept 21, 2017: Read Online.

This week’s super-short story about aliens and the nature of civilization, featuring a beautiful mountain backdrop.

“Head Full of Posies” by Melanie Rees, Sept 22, 2017: Read Online.

Steer clear of this one if discussion of Alzheimer’s or Dementia bothers you. This sad slipstream story follows an aging woman and the talking flowers who steal her memories. It is a coldly realistic look at the progression of these diseases, with just a hint at the possibility of dark magic. Rees’s writing is powerful and devastating.