The short story “A Series of Steaks” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad is published in January 2017 Clarkesworld’s issue. Not to for the faint-hearted vegans. A one woman company creates fake stakes. A man blackmails her into forging a whole steak. Fortunately, an assistant comes to the rescue. Pros: + Kate Baker’s narration. She seems to really enjoy reading this, and gives life to the dialogue Cons: – Dialogue seems unnatural along with the rest text at some times.
The Ghost Ship Anastasia by Rich Larson was published in January 2017’s Clarkesworld issue. Summary: An action packed mystery story about a space crew (including one sister who is physically dead) following the distress call received by a bioship. Its A.I. seems to have taken the ship over and its occupants are missing apart from one. Pros: + Action thriller packed. + Emotional because of the dead sister + Great ending Cons: + It’s not explained why the sister’s consciousness will deteriorate after a few hours in the spacesuit. Why does it fit in there at the first place?
This short story by Yosef Lindell is published in Clarkesworld’s December 2016 issue. Summary: A young boy is contacted by post sent by his father who is a time-traveler. Tears ensued. Pros: Very emotional. (A possible award winner?) Cons: It is not necessarily sci-fi. Although it helps its emotional impact.
Review for the short story “Blue Grey Blue” by Yukimi Ogawa is published in Clarkesworld’s December 2016 issue. Summary: Tsuyu doesn’t feel special (or belonging in high social class) because of his eyes’ colour. But when he starts dating an A.I. his eyes’ colour is changing and things are getting better… Pros: A serious matter that we are facing in our world through a different type of physical distinction. Cons: Questions are left unanswered as we don’t know much about the A.I.’s motives and its mechanics.
This is the review for “Checkerboard Planet” by Eleanor Arnason which was published in Clarkesworld’s December 2016 Issue. Summary: Lydia Duluth, a reoccurring character in Eleanor’s stories, is being assigned to infiltrate Bio-In’s compounds in this distant checkerboard planet by the A.I.s because they suspect of the existence of an extraterrestrial intelligence. Pros: + the World. A very interesting world has been created by the author. + Action Cons: – condensed. There was a lot of things going on in the story. And a lot of background information to the character’s backstory that as I understood can be traced in other stories as well. In the same story we are introduced in a complicated world, along with interesting characters.
This is the review for “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” by Dale Bailey, published in Nightmare Magazine’s December 2016 Issue. Summary: When the first victim of a teenage werewolf appears at the school gym of Rockdale High, the rumors amongst the teenagers spread like wildfire. What also spread are the parents’ fear and some sort of morbid excitement on student’s behalf. The prom night is approaching at Rockdale High and it’s time for the masks to fall. Pros: + The buildup or atmosphere and mystery right until the ending. + The social and existential commentary. +The use of character’s from the classic movie. Cons: – It was in some ways a predictable ending. -The characters didn’t feel as real as I would like them too. (Maybe they were never real anyway.) You can read the story here
This is the review for “Painter of Stars” by Wang Yuan, translated by Andy Dudak and published in ClarkeWorld’s December 2016 Issue. Summary: A robot becomes a tattoo artist by marking the human skin in an original way (and not very apparent). It starts first with its master and ends up being world famous. Pros: + Humor, there are some funny bits in respect of the robot’s interaction with the world. + Robot’s development. It’s very interesting seeing how a robot becomes self-aware and self-creative. Creating someone’s identity is also one of the story’s main subjects. Cons: – Not very believable in some parts. Specially as the story reaches its conclusion we have some questions You can read the story here
This short story is published as the first story in December’s 2016 Clarkesworld’s issue. Summary: Its premise starts slowly introducing us to this new world that is a result of several events occurring initially on Earth by starting with the catastrophe in Earth’s space elevator. The primary character’s point of view is that of a son that is burying his father in the new world’s soil. Pros: + A rich rural scenery + details on politics + space technologies Cons – Slow pace – We cannot connect to the characters Notes: The story’s theme about planting the remains of a relative as a seed which will grow roots reminded me a lot the ender’s saga’s second book Speaker for the Dead. I will not say more though so to not spoil anything. Please read it if you haven’t yet, it’s a great read!
Review for the “Wolf Road” by Beth Lewis Summary: In a post-apocalyptic western-like world 17 year old Elka is raised by a killer in the wilderness. She runs away when she discovers his identity, and in her way to find her parents she acquires the friendship of a wolf and another young woman. However, the man that raised her and the enemies she created because of him will hunt her until she confronts them. The actual review: Pros: + The voice. It’s all about the heroine’s voice. It grabs you from the beginning of the book and it doesn’t let you go until the end. It’s gritty, gravelly, but also a strong female voice that starts from a little scared girl and ends up being an intimidating huntress. + The narrator of the audiobook. Actress Amy McFadden, really gives justice to the book. Gives life to all characters and makes everything more realistic. + The world. A world similar to the American West in the 18th century. You will visit the towns, the countryside, and walk through the dangerous woods. It doesn’t have that gray color that you might have noticed in McCarthy’s the Road. (Check the book’s similar title –…