REVIEW: “Halsing for the Anchylose” by Stewart C. Baker

Review of Stewart C. Baker, “Halsing for the Anchylose,” Fantasy Magazine 72 (October 2021): 29 — Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This poem managed to tell a complex story in a compact fashion. Reading it, I felt that it hinted at so much more than it was able to say, and I wondered if the title held clues to what the “more” was. Unfortunately, no dictionary shed any light on either term, so I remain intrigued, but baffled.

REVIEW: “Blood-Stained Letters Found in a Roadside Shrine on the Outskirts of Kyoto” by Stewart C. Baker

Review of Stewart C. Baker, “Blood-stained Letters Found in a Roadside Shrine on the Outskirts of Kyoto”, Syntax and Salt 4, 2017: Read Online. Reviewed by Tiffany Crystal

This one sucks you in. I didn’t think I was going to like it at first, to be honest. I’m really not fond of first person POV, whether it’s in the form of a letter or journal, or, well..anything. So I saw this and resigned myself to misery. That lasted about, oh, three minutes? Give or take? Then I started going “….waiiit a minute….” By the end, I was leaning forward on my elbows, nose thisfar from the monitor, and probably looking like an absolute loon.

So now I’m left with a different problem. I have to review this story, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, either. Some of you, if you know anything about Japanese mythology will probably be able to figure out what’s going on before it gets to the end. The rest of you though…well, you might just find yourself browsing through Wikipedia for more information. The story…shouldn’t be cute, but it kinda is? Mostly because of the mental image I have of the person writing the letters. Ahh, I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s just say, at the end? The story is no longer cute. It is a story of bloody revenge that is very satisfying.

I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.