Review: Recovery by Kate Sheeran Swed

Review of Recovery by Kate Sheeran Swed (3956 words)
Luna Station Quarterly, Issue 039 :Read Online

What stood out to me instantly was the age of the MC, Penny. She is eighty-six, and has never used her recovery card - a card that let's you re-live four minutes of your life. Most people use it for frivolous things, but not Penny. She still has it, safely tucked away for later.

She, however, is in the hospital, with her roommate Molly. This story is pretty much about the fun they have, looking for the Well-Dressed Man, and it sheds light on the bond they've formed during their escapade. The story is light, fun, yet poignant. It's only after I started reviewing short stories here that I started reading even more of them, and what surprises me the most is how often I use the word poignant in terms of short stories. And it is not a word I use lightly.

Short stories like this are what drew me into creating a dedicated review blog in the first place. What a beautiful story.


Review: You Called Me by Avra Margariti

Review of You Called Me by Avra Margariti(999 words)
Flash Fiction Online, October 2019 Issue : Read Online

"Guilt bursts citric-sour in her mouth."
Sentences like these really make me vividly visualize things, which I always appreciate. And to find it in a short story, no less! This is a story about a fourteen year old girl who is a minor deity and is called by the people who believe in her. Her mum worries, like any teenager's mum would, and their relationship is beautifully portrayed with very few words. It's a special skill and something I definitely appreciate. They are distant as the story starts, and the mother, Carol, works hard to maintain the peace and have a semblance of a working, healthy relationship. We soon discover that this is not entirely the case, and Carol herself is pretty hurt. Janie doesn't call her mom. By the end of the story, we understand where the distance, hurt, and resentment comes from, and how things might change just yet.

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Review : The Planting Prayer by Caroline Diorio

Review of The Planting Prayer byCaroline Diorio (919 words)
Flash Fiction Online, October 2019 Issue : Read Online

I particularly enjoyed the second person POV narration. I don't get to see that enough, honestly, so this stood out for me right from the outset. The story opens with our unnamed protagonist fulfilling a ritual - their sister is dead and they need to do this for the sake of her soul. For peace. The revelations are scattered throughout the story, and each new bit of information makes the story more intense and terrifying. The fear of death is a real thing, especially if youth are involved. Both the protagonist and the sister are fairly young, and while they have experienced the death of a close one (their mother) before, it's worse when it's someone quite young. This touches on that visceral fear, and the heightened terror and magic intertwine to create a beautiful, if scary, story.

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Review : Mr. Buttons by Miyuki Jane Pinckard

Review of Mr. Buttons by Miyuki Jane Pinckard (950 words)
Flash Fiction Online, October 2019 Issue : Read Online

I absolutely adore stories that can change the entire setting at a moment's notice. Mr. Buttons is exactly that. The background is of a kid who loves his stuffed toy, and we see that the child is soothed by it. Maybe it's just childish imagination, or maybe it's actually magic. Suddenly, though, you're hit by a split second decision and wide-ranging implications. Beautifully spooky. 

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Review: Zeitgeber by Greg Egan

Review of Zeitgeber by Greg Egan (10399 words), Sept 2019, Read Online

A beautifully written short that seems disturbing and unnatural on the surface of it, but you slowly start to realize that it isn't entirely unlikely for something like circadian rhythm changes to affect the structure of society as a whole.

Focusing on the microcosm of Sam's family with the backdrop of society as whole, we get a glimpse into how it changes the life of each person. This story touches on the effect on a human level, and not just on a widespread global level.

Indeed, the interspersed narrative of Sam with his family, and the larger society and the school he teaches at, shows how individuals are dealing with it. Individuals like his daughter, Emma, who is now functioning on a different internal clock. As these things go, she is eventually forced to have medication, which keeps her up at "normal" times, but she's dull, feel heavy, and doesn't really feel like herself.

That p…

Review: A Handful of Mud by Artyv K

Review of A Handful of Mud by Artyv K (3082 words)
Luna Station Quarterly, Issue 036 : Read Online

A world where everyone lives in subterranean rooms, where kids haven't even seen the sunlight or the land up there. And then grandmum smuggles in some mud. Dana, our narrator and the older child, is more aware of the possible repercussions of such an action. The younger one Mtra, is too young to understand much, and just wants some chocolate.

The grandmother is an interesting, unencumbered character. She does not really care for their current circumstances, having had a full life above ground, a freer life. The good old days. The kids have not experiences it and as such have nothing to compare their current living situation to. She misses the freedom of choice - down to the food eaten everyday, and the ability to grow a plant in your house. Naturally, she is very excited about acquiring A Handful of Mud.

I really enjoyed the references to India and Indian culture, and how much a world ca…

Review: Finnegan by Meghan MacLean Weir

Review of Finnegan by Meghan MacLean Weir (1006 words)
Flash Fiction Online, May 2019 Issue : Read Online

A touching story of motherly love, irrespective of biological connection. The story starts with Carrie, a social worker associated with hospitals, who is presently working with an unnamed infant, whom she names Finnegan. She has decided to steal him, because she think she would treat the child better than his biological mom.

You can tell that she also desperately wants a child. She justifies taking the baby (to herself) by mentioning that the mother won't be a good mother, that she probably even didn't want the baby to begin with. And she, Carrie, would do a much better job.

She makes up her mind, down to the day and time, about when she will take him. But the mother arrives, a natural with her son, and she seems to be a good person. That interaction makes Carrie wonder, and you as a reader will feel a pang at that moment, because you will, by now, have picked a side.