This was a delightfully bizarre story, full of flying Bureaucroaks and semi-sentient aqueducts, and of course the titular Leviathan who lives beneath the bridge and is either killer or saviour. There is a strong emotional tension in the story of the narrator and his friends, and the description of how the city first woke up and came alive is vivid and arresting.
It’s the end of the world and demons will be demons, and demon-slayers will be demon-slayers… Exactly what the title says it is, full of hilarious footnotes, I loved this story of a sisterhood of demonkillers who “just happen to mostly be messy sapphics”.
I would have liked this fairy tale-esque story better if it hadn’t taken all the frustrating bits of fairy tales instead of the good ones: The woman who sees a prince from the distance and falls hopelessly in love; the prince who has to marry or lose his lands, but cannot find a woman interesting enough. I love fairy tales, both traditional and modern, but cis-normative patriarchy-enforcing ones always end up disappointing me. This one tried to subvert those stereotypes, in the end, but not soon enough for it to be convincing.
But there was one very beautiful line in it, when the Moon tells the Raven-Maid: “Don’t lose your self as well as your heart.”
This was a delicious little story, about the monsters that wait for us in the wilds, about the transformatory power of first love, about a young girl making her own way in the world. I never quite knew what to expect, there was nothing predictable about it.
Dr. Lian Leandros is the only one left alive on the crippled space ship Aldebaran. Once she has sent out a distress signal, there is nothing left for her to do but wait.
It’s a premise that sets a story up for nothing happening: And yet, even though very little does happen in it, the way Ash brings the reader into Leandros’s world, helps us to understand her mind, is compelling and enjoyable, and in the end extremely beautiful.
Spaceships are always a great way to start a story, but this ship is a bit different. It looks different, it’s goal is different, and it communicates differently.
We switch between two points of view – one is of a scientist trying to decipher the message coming from the spaceship, the other is another scientist farther in the future who has a different task at hand.
Memory is a strong part of this story, seeping into feelings, thoughts and conversations for both women. Another tale from this Clarkesworld issue about the transient nature of time, with the emphasis here being on the transient nature of humans in time. Longing, memory, and feelings collide to make this a powerful novelette.
A story revolving around Johnny and his chosen family. Gaps in memory that are slowly but surely getting larger, to the extent of forgetting people entirely. Aided by hints of a folk song that takes on a tragic, terrifying color. A childhood memory that brings a certain type of solace.
The walls are closing in, but only metaphorically, because the world is getting larger and lonelier otherwise. A twist comes and makes things better, but the overarching feeling of the transient nature of memory remains. Time is fickle and we are reminded of this through the tale in various ways.
Content note: Reference to self-harm.
In its simplest description, this is a story of unrequited love — ugly and chaotic. It was a tough read: Characters whom you wanted to sympathize with became increasingly unsympathetic, and the hurt and anger and betrayal that is woven through everyone’s story was hard to handle sometimes. Sluss shows real mastery in writing this piece.
I do love futuristic fiction where the protagonists are really sweet and a little different from the usual science-oriented folks. This piece of speculative fiction was set in a future where people have soma projections of themselves and can go wherever they please, without actually going anywhere.
Yennie lives exactly such a life, and he’s a musical star on the rise. But does he want the success because he wants it himself, or because he was genetically selected and predetermined to want it?
Freedom, but not really. Happiness, but maybe not truly. Privacy, not even a pretense of. But hope, friendship and love finds a way.
There are a lot of lovely fairy tale elements in this story, as well as echoes of the myth of Narcissus, but also a lot of patriarchal stereotyping with an underlying misogyny.
I would love to have been able to enjoy this story, but it just failed to push the boundaries in the way it maybe could have.