“The Shadow Over His Mouth” by Aidan Doyle
horror , Review , short stories / August 29, 2017

“The Shadow Over His Mouth” by Aidan Doyle is published in Diabolical Plots Fiction Issue 29B on 17th of July 2017 Synopsis: Barry Lovecraft, a food blogger, visits Eastern Europe and writes his critiques online for the Dracula castle and sea food restaurants or hotels he tries out. People start disappearing and he finds himself in a pickle. Analysis: A mix of Dracula and Cthulhu mythos with a dash of comedy. The blogger could have been a real blogger – oblivious to what’s happening around him. It’s always fun to see how reality can be disturbed by horrific elements that the character doesn’t acknowledge. It can be seen also as a criticism on the current trend of our use of social networks and blogging, specially when we are too focused to get a photograph of our soon to be gone meal. There are enough points and puns in the story that can cause laughs or smirks.

“Barrette Girls” by Sara Saab
horror , Review , sci-fi , short stories / August 17, 2017

The short story “Barrette Girls” by Sara Saab was published on the 3rd issue of liminal stories on spring / summer 2017. Synopsis: In “Barrette Girls”, Sunday with the help of Andrew guides a group of girls to a secret destination. Andrew has second thoughts about what they are doing while Sunday is remembering her past relationships. Analysis: Sara Saab reveals gradually the nature of the characters’ lives. We enter a future world which would be described as a utopia by the oblivious observer. But what happens behind the curtains of this world paints a grim picture of our future civilization. How long will the staff reason with their consciousness? Sunday learns to get used to it. As people are used to it nowadays but that doesn’t mean that the process wouldn’t have an impact in an unconscious psychological level. Or in a level that we don’t want to acknowledge and maybe see only in our nightmares.  That’s how the author tricks us and take us by the hand as Sunday takes the girls by their hand and we can only be suspicious of what’s going on until it’s too late.  A sense of unfamiliarity and uneasiness underlines the story…

“Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal El–Mohtar
fantasy , Review , short stories / August 16, 2017

“Seasons of Glass and Iron” is the HUGO 2017 winner for best short story and was published on Uncanny Magazine Issue 13: November/December 2016 and originally published in The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales. Summary: Tabitha has to wear seven pairs of painful iron magical shoes in a row until they wear out. In her journey she meets Amira: A princess that has placed herself on the top of a glass hill.  Analysis: Two fairy-tales collide into one so to find solace to each other. A story that is allegorical about patriarchic societies and women facing oppressive men and rules set by men. These two women feel that it’s only natural to endure these ordeals until each gets to know the other’s and understand that they don’t deserve it. The only way to go forward and remove their bonds is by solidarity and love. Also the numbers which are used as magical are one and seven. There can be multiple meanings behind these numbers such as their biblical meaning which are unity (1) and completeness (7). The writing is in a ways lyrical which is to be expected due to Amal El-Mohtar’s previous work. Most of the story seems to…

“If a Bird Can Be a Ghost” by Allison Mills
fantasy , Review , short stories / August 5, 2017

“If a Bird Can Be a Ghost” was published on on Aug 1, 2017 , Apex Magazine Issue 99. Summary: Allison Mills writes about a family of ghost busters. But they are not like in the movies. It’s only a grandma, with her daughter and her grand-daughter who is full of questions. They visit houses and help other people to exorcise ghosts that are haunting them. Also birds can be ghosts as well. Analysis: This short story is about grief and letting go. It has interesting themes such as: passing a skill from a generation to another. discovery of oneself and growing up how to treat ghosts face death of a close family member We follow the grand-daughter’s point of view as she grows up around ghosts. Another interesting idea is that you can catch a ghost on your hair!