Short Reviews – July to September

Andrew Leon Hudson

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T hree more months, three more stories.

Well, obviously there have been rather more stories than that, and I should know, I read many before I picked out these few for particular attention. But I would at least like to attempt to maintain the pretence that this little review platform adheres to some sort of structure, before I run riot and ruin everything in the penultimate paragraph.

First up, representing July, we have One Last Bash Before We All Hit The Road by Louis Evans, a stylish excursion that takes us to a Manhattan society event like no other (though possibly all such things are like no other, unless they want to be thought bad). This one is being held in defiance of an ecological apocalypse that is shortly to wipe New York City from the face of the Earth, and only the city’s best are on the list, of course – except it’s a very subjective word, “best”, isn’t it? “Richest” might be closer to the truth. Or “most deserving”.

It appears in Little Blue Marble, a great online eco-fiction zine that hosts a wide array of genres within that theme. Even if speculative fiction isn’t to your taste, you can be sure to find something there that is.

For August, we turn to Orion’s Belt, where literary spec-fic is very much the only flavour available, although each month it is portioned out via one short-short story and one piece of poetry for some variety of form.

The delicacy in question, Aimee Ogden’s But First It Is Sung, boasts a quite marvellous perspective: that of a sentient universe whose existence is in flux, its attentions torn between celebration of its (relatively) recent new-born offspring and fear of unseen swarming beings almost infinitely far down the physiological scale, whose escalated consumption of energy marks out any additional universes out there as quite the prize. Is the balance between achieving survival and achieving an existence worth surviving for ever explored on this level?

After these excesses of luxury and scale, for September all is brought very much down to earth by Ellen Morris Prewitt, who appears (slightly ironically) in Luna Station Quarterly, home to “stellar short fiction by women-identified writers since 2010”.

The Very Hand of God takes us to suburban Memphis, where retired couple Eugene and Lavinia reside in a neighbourhood deeply in decay, estranged from their adult son and falling into their odd little ways. When Eugene finds tiny slivers of pinkish glass in the street, an unexpected hording urge is triggered in him, and over time his burgeoning collection begins to attract attention, first within his family, then without. The consequences are unexpected.

Those were my favourite recent reads, but (in a fairly typical (and heavily signposted) move) I’ll now over-stay my welcome to add one extra quadrupedal recommendation: the latest issue of The Future Fire was an interesting experience, with four stories I also enjoyed. The first, Frances Koziar’s One Day, was only really speculative for its invented setting; it was followed by Boxes Full of Memories by Sean R. Robinson, a more overtly fantastical piece; then the third, Out of Bounds by Anna Ziegelhof, put us very firmly in scifi territory, as did the last, Davian Aw’s Between the Shadow and the Soul. Each was very distinct, but all shared a strong emotional weight; a nicely complementary set, in my opinion.

Right, that’s it. See you in three more months. With “three” more reviews.


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Andrew Leon Hudson

Author image of Andrew Leon Hudson Andrew is a technical writer by day, and is technically a writer by night as well. In addition to editing Mythaxis he has been published in a small handful of quality zines, and co-authored a serialised alternate history adventure novel. He lives in Barcelona, Spain, and doesn’t do things online often enough to count.

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