REVIEW: “Rain Like Diamonds” by Wendy Nikel

Review of Wendy Nikel, “Rain Like Diamonds”, Luna Station Quarterly 35 (2018): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

The queen hoarded the barrels of seed, keeping them locked within her coffers…

The kingdom is caught in the throes of famine. Every day people plead with the queen to help them, to help their starving children. And every day the queen refuses, knowing the grain must be saved until the dragon-scorched land is healed and it can be planted. But only tears can bring the rain like diamonds.

This is a quiet story of sacrifice and duty.

REVIEW: “The Heavenly Dreams of Mechanical Trees” by Wendy Nikel

Review of Wendy Nikel, “The Heavenly Dreams of Mechanical Trees”, in Glass and Gardens: Solar Punk Summers, edited by Sarena Ulibarri, (World Weaver Press, 2018): 141-148 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

What a positively delightful title, and what a perfectly wonderful little story to go with it! I was captivated from the opening line, when we are told:

Trees were never intended to be sentient beings, or God would have created them that way, back in the Garden.

But suppose that they were — how would the course of human history have changed? What would the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil have to say, if it could speak?

The trees in this story that think such thoughts and dream the titular dreams are not descendants of the trees created by God, though; they are mechanical trees, created by man. Machines cannot speak; machines cannot procreate; machines can only dream of these things, and pray to their human creator-gods that a miracle occurs.