This is the review for “Laal Andhi” by Usman T. Malik , published as a reprint in Nightmare Magazine’s September 2016 Issue. Summary: The narrator and three of his friends engage in a dark game in an attempt to give their childhood a second chance in magic and poetry and to escape the true horrors that loom over Lahore. But the horrors catch up to them in the most horrible way and so does Laal Andhi, The Crimson Storm. Pros: + The supernatural events in juxtaposition with the real terrorism and chaos of the country. + The well-drawn characters. + The unusual and diverse setting. Cons: – The detailed descriptions of place and the confusing timeline might detract from the horror build up. You can read the story here.
Interchange by Gary Kloster is published in Clarkesworld’s January 2017 124 Issue Summary: Workers are building a highway interchange in an anti-time dome. They work for 6 months and not a minute change outside. Meanwhile the doctor has an android assistant which is identical to her late husband. But you know what they say, when you play with time… Pros: + A unique story. Usually we manipulate time in stories the other way around. But in this story is in reverse. Moreover, the plot evolves into a suspenseful mystery. + The android. The android’s point of view also helps us to look at more sides of the other characters. Cons: – Some of the characters emotions seem too extreme, a background story would be useful.(Like the doctor’s) – Doesn’t the ending create a time paradox?
“There Used to Be Olive Trees” by Rich Larson is published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction‘s January/February 2017 issue Summary: In post-apocalyptic Spain, our hero is trying to prove his town that is a prophet. And by prophet we mean being able to speak to the AI gods with the means of a rare artificial implant. To do that he escapes the town’s fortress but he faces a dangerous wilder. Another man who is trying to save his people. Remarks: Pros: + Great world-building. We see an after world with two different types of human towns and also the AIs. + Concise dialogue between the characters, resulting to an unexpected bonding. + The action, described in a great way holding you at the edge of your chair. Cons: – The story ends suddenly. Would like to see the consequences of their decisions.
A review for “Justice Systems in Quantum Parallel Probabilities” by Lettie Prell published and narrated in Clarkesworld’s January 2016 issue Summary: Cole is ready to face the justice system for the crimes that he committed. As he is entering the court room he will travel through various parallel worlds with their own unique justice systems. Pros: + Some very interesting ideas on justice + humor + feels like a twilight story Cons: – A simple demonstration of lots of justice systems.
This is the review for “The Blood Drip” by Brian Evenson, published as a reprint in Nightmare Magazine’s December 2016 Issue. Summary: Karsten and Nils are trying to enter a city in order to survive since the woods haven’t been easy to live in. They are driven off with stones which might or might not have killed Nils. Karsten decides to stay and help his friend. What happens afterwards is the stuff of nightmares. Pros: + The creeping darkness. + The build up. + The unreliable narrator. Cons: – The openness of interpretation might annoy some readers. You can read the story here.
This is the review for “Blood Mangoes” by Ashok Banker, published in Nightmare Magazine’s January 2017 Issue. Summary: Shanti dreams of tasting the expensive and sweet Alphonso Mangoes. So she makes a deal with the devil. She knows there is a price for making deals with the Devi and she is ready to pay it. But the repercussions soon get out of control. Pros: + The sinister atmosphere. + The build up. + The vivid descriptions and the lore. Cons: – Some of the descriptions might be too graphic for some readers. You can read the story here.
A review for the short story “When They Come Back” by Natalia Theodoridou First published in Crossed Genres‘s issue 22: Robots, Androids & Cyborgs (October 2014) Narrated by Ibba Armancas in EscapePod’s November 2016’s podcast Summary: Men are long gone, and the only thing left are robots and angel-like creatures who are still searching for humans. A robot befriends an angel while looking for his lover. This is an abstract story that gives bit by bit any information about a meta-apocalyptic world where android-like robots have survived. We don’t know exactly what are the angels, but apart from their fluid-shape-changing ability, we know that were faithful companion to men. Friendship, loss, grief, hope are examined through this Natalia’s work. Pros: + lyrical writing which suits the story well + various themes examined based on loss + imaginative world building, including the angel-like creatures Cons: – The story’s abstractness due to its short form make us ask lots of questions (although this can have a positive side-effect since it will stick in our mind for a longer time while pondering it)
This is the review for “Redcap” by Carrie Vaughn, published in Nightmare Magazine’s January 2017 Issue. Summary: Violet is the youngest of three sisters and she is trusted to take care of the sheep. Her sisters warn her daily about the dangers lurking outside the house, and as these things go, one day she meets one of them. Pros: + The fairytale/folktale atmosphere. + The vivid descriptions and the lore. Cons: – The self-referential ending made the story blow out a bit. You can read the story here