REVIEW: “Irregularity” by Rachel Harrison

Review of Rachel Harrison “Irregularity”, Apex Magazine 106 (2018): Read Online. Reviewed by Joanna Z. Weston.

After nearly perishing in an alien invasion, humanity decided that computers were not reliable enough to watch the void of space for threats. Now, specially trained humans work at outposts, watching the data for inconsistencies. Nyle is one of those observers. It’s a lonely job – he only sees his one human co-worker for a few minutes a day, and otherwise interacts only with the station itself and the endless data stream. This makes for a quiet, character driven story, focused almost entirely on Nyle.

In addition to the impeccably well-crafted character of Nyle, this story also has a well-built, interesting world. We mostly get hints of it from his memories, but so much of the story takes place in Nyle’s head, that still gives us a good look at the stratification of this society.

I enjoyed the quiet, introspective story telling in this piece, and recommend it for anybody who enjoys space stories that are less action and more reflection, with a strong, emotional ending.

REVIEW: “Belong to Me” by Rachel Harrison

Review of Rachel Harrison, “Belong to Me”, Syntax and Salt 4, 2017: Read Online. Reviewed by Tiffany Crystal

Well, gee, this one isn’t creepy as all get out or anything. It’s sunshine and lollipops, and okay, that’s enough sarcasm for now.

For something that starts out as a love story (kinda), the end is…huh. Rachel Harrison takes you through a tale that is, on the surface, anyway, similar to the premise of “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” If the best friend was a Martian, and the other woman was the main character’s other best friend.

Okay, so the comparison isn’t the best, but it’s better than using “Coneheads,” and the point remains. The story really shouldn’t be as creepy as it is, though to be fair, the creepy part is entirely conjecture. You aren’t given enough information to justify the chills that start creeping in, but you also aren’t given any reason to not get them.

Is the cousin telling the truth? Or was he lying? Where are all the Martian women? Who does Becky care about more? All it says is that she discovers who she loves more. The story leaves you with so many questions that demand answers, but in a way that you can’t really be mad at the author for.

And guys? It has aliens. Aliens. And UFO’s. Am I entirely too happy about that? Possibly. Go read it anyway. (Aliens!)