Individual Story reviews below: (Average 3 stars)
Johnny Rev by Rachel Pollack (3 stars)
In a world, our world, where magic is ever-present and hidden in plain sight from those who aren’t supposed to see it, one man faces a terrible circumstance. But not really. He faces it with a copy of himself, but somehow, the copy just doesn’t want to go away after its task is done.
I liked this story. The plot was good, the characters were cleanly developed with good detail. The story was fast paced and kept me in it the whole time. There was a whole lot of backstory hinted at, and almost too much info about the world mentioned but glossed over. I actually went looking to see if this was a continuing story line, but didn’t find anything. I did find that the author is unsurprisingly into tarot and spirituality. The story is quite filled with that sort of thing, but I took it for what it was… an entertaining story.
The Deepwater Bride by Tamsyn Muir (3 stars)
An eldritch horror short story. It was well written, but not quite as creepy as some. I think that was because the main focus was message… (i.e. the budding romance between the two female main characters). I’ll leave it there.
The Body Pirate by Van Arron Hughes (2.5 stars)
Very confusing until you figure out what is happening between the blackbirds/humans and all the pronounification (see, i can invent words too!) Written in an interesting way (split screen text) in places. Kudos for trying something new, but it was not great. No character depth.
The Curse of Myrmelon by Matthew Hughes (3.5 stars)
A private detective with some knowledge of magic (which he is not supposed to use because it pisses of the Magician’s Union) takes on an investigation that leads to a much deeper intrigue. This story was very well written, the characters were well developed and I was pulled into the world and held there. This is not my typical genre, so it has to work hard to interest me to begin with. When it does, it gets high marks.
DIXON’S ROAD by Richard Chwedyk (4 stars)
I really liked this one. It’s a story about a the curator of a museum – the home site of a famous female poet on a terra-formed asteroid – that gives a very special tour to a very special person. I won’t say more because it would spoil it. I found it poignant, with great character & world development in a short package. I highly recommend this one.
Oneness: A Triptych by James Patrick Kelly (0 stars)
Cyberporn? Nothing about the world was explained. It was bad.
This Quintessence of Dust by Oliver Buckram (4 stars)
A neat little story of the robotic survivors of the human bio-apocalypse. Short and very good.
Paradise and Trout by Betsy James (2 stars)
A young boy’s journey into the afterlife. It has vivid imagery, but the story left me feeling that it was incomplete. It seems to be written for emotion rather than story, which would be fine if it had a bit more story to round it out.
The Silicon Curtain: A Seastead Story by Naomi Kritzer (5 stars)
A sixteen year old girl in the Seastead is preparing to move back to California to live with her mom after her father death, but one last thing needs doing first. A YA adventure that draws you in. I think I may be hooked me on this series now. It has a well crafted world, good character into, and that bit of intrigue I tend to like a lot.
Into the Fiery Planet by Gregor Hartmann (3 stars)
How do you sell a cinder as a vacation spot? Use your words, of course. It’s all in the presentation. A somewhat humorous look at intergalactic tourism.