REVIEW: “Making Friends” by Steve Kopka

Review of Steve Kopka, “Making Friends”, in Abandoned Places, edited by George R. Galuschak and Chris Cornell (Shohola Press, 2018): 39-56 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

I’m very bad at genres, especially all the finely-sliced sub-categories that are out there nowadays. But the beginning of this story made me go, “Oh! That’s what ‘urban fantasy’ is (when it’s not vampire and werewolf romance).” Everything is ordinary and real and familiar, except everything that is extraordinary and fantastic and strange. The lines between two the are blurred, and the result is unsettling — unsettling enough that I decided in the end to also classified it as ‘horror’. Horror isn’t my cup of tea, but the story was compelling nevertheless.

For me, though, this story was let down by the quality of its writing. The prose didn’t feel as finely crafted, and I kept tripping up on little things — small grammatical errors, a word occurring in two sentences in a row, the feeling that I was being given a recitation of facts — that detracted from my enjoyment.