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 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!