REVIEW: “Escape” by K. G. Anderson

Review of K. G. Anderson, “Escape”, Luna Station Quarterly 35 (2018): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Shulamit Pelz is on her way from New York to Santa Fe, golem in tow. Ahead of her is a fiancé she’s never met; behind her, two “crazed Kabbalists” tracking her golem. When robbers set upon her carriage, Shulamit is forced into the company of Billy McCarty, “a city boy’s dream of a New Mexico cowboy” for all that he, too, was born in New York, not far from where Shulamit lived. Can she keep the secret of the golem from Billly? What secrets is Billy keeping from her?

Half-way through the story, we find out at least one of Billy’s secrets, and the revelation had me grinning until the end. I very much enjoyed this Jewish speculative Western — the first I’ve ever read of such a genre. One thing that has really become impressed upon me, the more diversely I read, is just how boring lack of diversity is, what a distinct lack of imagination it shows. I’m really glad we have stories like this and journals like Luna Station Quarterly to make it easy for everyone to read diversely.

REVIEW: “To Walk For the First Time” by Erin K. Wagner

Review of Erin K. Wagner, “To Walk For the First Time”, Luna Station Quarterly 35 (2018): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

It takes great skill to be able to provide a fully developed fantasy world in the confines of a short story. Wagner has that skill in spades in “To Walk For the First Time”, feeding the reader one detail at a time with such precision — enough detail that we can see the whole world, enough detail that we are left with so many questions. At first, the story seems to be a fantasy; then more details come and it morphs into strange and unsettling science fiction; then another shift, and is it fantasy that we are back at?

A brilliantly told tale, highly recommended.

REVIEW: “Necromance” by Alyssa Striplin

Review of Alyssa Striplin, “Necromance”, Luna Station Quarterly 35 (2018): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content warning: Death, animal sacrifice.

I’m not a big fan of second-person narration, so I didn’t enjoy this story as much as some. This story also leans more towards the “horror” than many stories in Luna Station Quarterly, another count against it, in my book.

But these two complaints are very personal ones, and if you don’t mind second-person narratives or a bit of gore, then you may enjoy this story of the mortician’s daughter-turned-necromancer.

REVIEW: “Space Witch” by Richaundra Thursday

Review of Richaundra Thursday, “Space Witch”, Luna Station Quarterly 35 (2018): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

I was having a bad day at work when I took a break to read and review this story, and what a good decision that was. From the opening sentence — “All the best hexes are specific, ya float me?” — rollicking through to the end, the story was a fast-paced, quick, enjoyable read, with a nice balance of story, voice, and science.

REVIEW: “A Dream of This Life” by Andrea Blythe

Review of Andrea Blythe, “A Dream of This Life”, Luna Station Quarterly 35 (2018): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Drug use.

This was a grey, dismal story, of insomnia, of drug-use, of the wretched dullness of life. The narrator (never named) used to be a dreamer of dreams — and, more importantly, a seller of them too. Now she dreams no longer, at least, not any dream that anyone would want to have, because

No one wants to buy a dream that leaves them with the same unsettling boredom they experience every day of their lives.

Blythe describes the experiences of the narrator in painfully evocative language: Very well written, but what’s being written is not necessarily something you want to read. What I found most interesting, reading this story, was how much reading the story felt like experiencing one of those dreams. No one wants a dream that resembles the dullness of their life; but few would want to read a story that is full of the boredom of life, either. In sum: The story was well-written, but I am unsure that it is a story that people would want to read.

REVIEW: “The Other Foot” by Margo Lanagan

Review of Margo Lanagan, “The Other Foot”, in Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones, and E. Catherine Tobler, Sword and Sonnet (Ate Bit Bear, 2018) — 95-101. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

This short story is a retelling of one of the lesser known Anderson fairy tales, the tale of The Red Shoes. It’s a tale I hadn’t read since childhood and had only the vaguest memories of, but Lanagan’s story stands on its own: Full of the gruesome horror that all proper and good children’s fairy tales have — though this version is not one that I would share with a kid. After finishing the story, I then went to read Anderson’s version, and that only increased my enjoyment of Lanagan’s version, by adding more layers and depth.