‘Survivor Song’ a Prescient Tale

I had to stop multiple times while reading Paul Tremblay’s Survivor Song to check whether it had been written before or during the pandemic. And then check again, and again, because the way his fictional society reacted to his fictional outbreak felt far too close to reality circa March-April 2020. But Survivor Song was publishedContinue reading “‘Survivor Song’ a Prescient Tale”

Barker’s ‘Women’ is a Dazzling Return to Troy

Thousands of years after the fall of Troy and long after the Greek gods’ influence faded, the stories and myths from that golden era still persist. Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls revisiting of that era by unspooling a single mention of a Trojan woman, Briseis, who was given as a token in aContinue reading “Barker’s ‘Women’ is a Dazzling Return to Troy”

‘Song for the Unraveling of the World’ Strange and Compelling

The first story in Brian Evenson’s collection Song for the Unraveling of the World is less than two pages long. That page and a half, though, is a good litmus test. If you don’t like it, you can confidently move onto some other short story collection. But if you find yourself intrigued and uneased, there’sContinue reading “‘Song for the Unraveling of the World’ Strange and Compelling”

‘Sundial’ Not For the Faint of Heart

In horror, fear can come from a variety of places. Ghosts, demons (real or imagined), zombies, fascists, fascist zombies—the possibilities are endless. In the case of Catriona Ward’s Sundial, the call, as it were, is coming from inside the relationship. From the outside, Rob looks like a picture of suburban perfection: nice clothes, a polishedContinue reading “‘Sundial’ Not For the Faint of Heart”

‘Elder Race’ is the Best of Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Little-known fact: Arthur C. Clarke came up with his third law after reading Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Elder Race. Okay, maybe Clarke predated Elder Race by a few decades, but the idea that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic has never been truer than it is in this slim little story that is at once aContinue reading “‘Elder Race’ is the Best of Sci-Fi and Fantasy”

‘Echo Wife’ Delivers Chills and Food for Thought

There’s no such thing as the perfect spouse, though many people have tried to mold a person into that elusive flawless companion. When science gets involved, creating that perfect spouse becomes a far more literal task. That question is explored, more than once, in Sarah Gailey’s chilling The Echo Wife, which sunk its claws deepContinue reading “‘Echo Wife’ Delivers Chills and Food for Thought”

‘Violent’ Doesn’t Quite ‘Delight’

The premise of These Violent Delights is absolute catnip for me: Romeo and Juliet, retold in 1920s Shanghai as rival gangs. So, Shakespeare influence, check; decadence of the Roaring Twenties, check; political intrigue and organized crime in pre-Revolution China—just download it straight into my brain! So the charitable analysis of how I ended up feelingContinue reading “‘Violent’ Doesn’t Quite ‘Delight’”

‘This Thing’ Brings Shivers

The first time I brought home a—uh, we’ll call it a “home assistant,” my partner scoffed and said we didn’t need anything like that and we’d never use it. The next morning, he told it to play Gregorian chants, and then interrupted the Gregorian chants to ask about the weather. Now, she’s so engrained inContinue reading “‘This Thing’ Brings Shivers”

‘Sisters’ a Novella with ‘Vast’ Thrills

This review is going to be short, because the book I want to talk about is short. Unlike my review, which will be a fine and serviceable discussion about the merits and flaws of the book, Lina Rather’s Sisters of the Vast Black is a lovely and dazzling piece of writing. On an organic spaceship sailingContinue reading “‘Sisters’ a Novella with ‘Vast’ Thrills”

‘How High’ Soars with Sorrow, Joy

There’s a lot to be said for a good story cycle. I was entranced by Julia Phillips’ Disappearing Earth, about the disappearance of two girls on a remote Russian peninsula and how that crime both rocks a community and hardly affects its petty problems at all. Sequoia Nagamatsu’s How High We Go in the DarkContinue reading “‘How High’ Soars with Sorrow, Joy”