REVIEW: “Little Animals” by Nancy Kress

Review of Nancy Kress, “Little Animals”, Clarkesworld Issue 177, June (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

A beautiful, arresting story with lovely imagery. It expertly combines love, microbiology, clinical depression and quantum entanglement. Our researcher, Elena, is currently focusing on studying the life of Maria van Leeuwenhoek, and she finds startling similarities that she did not anticipate. She can empathize with Maria and wants better – for Maria and for herself. She handles both the past and present – not as well as she would like to in either case – and her quiet yet loyal personality shines through. A tale of empathy, longing and wanting better.

A lovely and powerful novelette.

REVIEW: “Setting the Scene” by Nancy Kress

Review of Nancy Kress, “Setting the Scene”, in Tod McCoy and M. Huw Evans, eds., Pocket Workshop: Essays on Living as a Writer (Hydra House Clarion West Writers Workshop, 2021): 23-28 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

I found this piece particularly useful, as I have only the vaguest idea of what counts as a “scene” in a piece of fiction. I’m not sure I could give you a complete answer even after reading the piece, but I certainly feel like I have a better idea of what gets to count as a “scene” and how scenes can (or should) be linked. And I really liked the “Kress Swimming Pool Theory of Fiction”: You don’t have to dive straight into the deep end, drowning your reader in world building and info-dumping, instead, you can push off from the side of the pool with some interesting action that will carry you far enough to glide “with a section of exposition without losing the reader interest” (p. 25).