REVIEW: “The Shroud for the Mourners” by Yukimi Ogawa

Review of Yukimi Ogawa, “The Shroud for the Mourners”, Clarkesworld Issue 177, June (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

Beautifully written, and set in a hauntingly different world. I enjoyed the glimpses into the different kinds of people there, both human and Android.

Two craftspeople work at a pattern atelier – helping patterned people deal with anomalies in their intricate skin patterns. They get involved in a sort of medical mystery. The source turns out to be unexpected and sentimental.

Another tale that follows this issue’s theme (based on my personal inference) of identity and the different ways it can manifest.

The whole situation occurs due to differences in how your identity decides how exactly things pan out. A thoughtful tale that will stay with you.

REVIEW: “No Place Like Home” by Rebecca Burton

Review of Rebecca Burton, “No Place Like Home”, Luna Station Quarterly 47 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Saffi and her wife moved North so her wife could escape the city and a job that was slowly killing her. Now, Di wants nothing more than to leave the countryside behind and return home.

There’s a good layer of tension in the story, as it is wholly unclear until right at the end whether Saffi will go with Di or not, but that alone wasn’t quite enough to elevate the story from ordinary to extraordinary.

REVIEW: “Our Fate, Told in Photons” by K.W. Colyard

Review of K.W. Colyard, “Our Fate, Told in Photons”, Clarkesworld Issue 177, June (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

A slow start and a very satisfying end. A short story that encompasses space travel, prophecy, stars, family, love, and memory.

Sisters, Callisto and Pallas, bound together for life. Would they still be, if not for a prophecy? Would their actions be the same, if not for the prophecy? Are prophecies self-fulfilling as a rule?

Speculative in a different sort of way, and tying in with the theme of identity that (I feel) features in all the stories in this issue of Clarkesworld.

REVIEW: “Skipping Back” by Jeannine Clarke

Review of Jeannine Clarke, “Skipping Back”, Luna Station Quarterly 47 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content warning: Mention of eating disorders; marijuana use; casual racism.

This was very much a story of two parts. In the first, not even the addition of time travel can make a story of a man’s serial philandering any less sordid. In the second, the philandering is left behind and the time travel comes to the fore. This second half was a bit trite, but overall this was a pleasant story.

REVIEW: “After the Storm” by A.M. Faller

Review of A.M. Faller, “After the Storm”, Luna Station Quarterly 47 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

“Lostara Oasis was about to run out of water”, and the Council of Seven have sent Dowsers out into the Barren to find new sources. Aza is one of them, but she’s unlike all the others: She was born outside the capital, to Feral parents who scavenged in the Barren. When she’s sent into the desert without an escort, it’s clear that no one would care too much if she died. But Aza’s too good a pilot and too good a dowser to let a single sandstorm stop her from her quest, and in the end her persistence is rewarded, as she discovers something far more important and valuable than water.

REVIEW: “Dashing, Through the Spaceship” by Anna Martino

Review of Anna Martino, “Dashing, Through the Spaceship”, Luna Station Quarterly 47 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

I’ve been watching a lot of Star Trek lately — DS9 and Voyager, the first time for both series for me! — and when I saw that this story felt like a Star Trek episode, I mean this in the best possible way: Futuristic space-travel that’s still just close enough to now to feel real; junior officers hashing out their pecking order; amusing antics with an animal. I loved it! A truly stellar story.

REVIEW: “Who Wants to Live Forever?” by Karen McCreedy

Review of Karen McCreedy, “Who Wants to Live Forever?”, Luna Station Quarterly 24 (2015): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

“Who wants to live forever?” they asked, and humanity—stupid, unthinking fools that we were—answered, “we do.”

Ange and Bob both work at the Euro-Asian Space Agency, which means that when the humanoid robots sent off to colonise Mars and Jupiter return to Earth offering people the opportunity to live forever — to download themselves into indestructible humanoid bodies — they’re near the top of the priority queue. Only, they never stopped to think what life would be like if all the bits that make them human that come from their corporeal bodies were gone.

This story started off pretty classic SF but continually edged its way closer and closer to horror, as McCreedy deftly illustrates what life would be like if we could, indeed, live forever. Thanks, but no thanks!

REVIEW: “Presque Vue” by Tochi Onyebuchi

Review of Tochi Onyebuchi, “Presque Vue”, Uncanny Magazine Issue 41 (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Isabel Hinchliff

As she grows up, Sam has to wrestle with the revelation that hearing just one voice in her head is not, in fact, normal. She tracks when it guides her and when it falls silent. Is it nudging her thoughts in a certain direction? What does it want? Only time will tell, but why does she feel like time might be running out?

Clocking in at less than two thousand words, this bite-size story is surprisingly refreshing. It takes a much more holistic approach than many stories which feature internal voices; Sam is a well-developed protagonist with family support and access to mental health services. She struggles to understand and make peace with her unique mental landscape, but she isn’t seriously hindered by it or degraded by her peers. As each new detail of her life story was revealed, I found myself effortlessly picking out the layers of motives in Sam’s life: her motives, the motives of her friends and family, and the motives of the mysterious voice. It’s a fascinating read with a delightful reveal at the end.