khōréō, Luna Station Quarterly and Shoreline of Infinity – Locus Online
Luna Station Quarterly 22/3
Shoreline of Infinity 22/3
From his second year, khōréō has another strong problem with five original stories. ”Phoenix Tile” av Guan Un is a funny story about Ah Lok, a cunning demigod who begins to disappear in Chinatown. He makes his way to the east wind hangout, and chaos ensues – possibly enough chaos to get him back on track. ”Me and Seed Sheself” av Celeste Rita Baker has one of the more unusual narrators I have met lately – it’s half of a magical tamarind seed that has been with the human girl Junisa since she was little. The narrator and the seed act as a kind of charm and push Junisa to make healthy choices. Throughout the story, Junisa becomes an adult woman; at a party she goes for a bad swim and barely returns to land. The fate of the magic seed is a revelation for the end. ”Electric waterfalls” av Ruth Joffre takes place near Deadhorse AK. In this world of climate change, there is no longer any pressure to open oil drilling nearby, and Xiomara is a student and technician working on a large solar installation. She goes out to do some repairs, and also panics about whether her infatuation will come to her birthday party. It’s a story that fits well into the Solarpunk venue, with the added bonus of focusing on the future of an indigenous people. ”Matchmaker, Matchmaker” av Evalyn Broderick is a sweet story about two best friends who pose against each other to try to win the hand of a suitor from the world who is considered acceptable by shadchan. The meeting comes down to a baking competition, but the narrator is seriously in doubt that this is a competition she wants to win. ”Hiraeth heart” av Lulu Kadhim is a more gripping story, imagining a person visiting a ruined desert with his mother. It had been her mother’s home before she fled, and her grief is clear. But even for the narrator, who has never lived there, it is a sadness to lose the hope they had had of visiting the place when it was complete.
Luna Station Quarterly is a great place to find new voices, and their 49th edition is no exception. Of the 16 original stories, I count 14 that are either by debut writers or those that only have a handful of stories out there. The stories range widely, from wish fulfillment to horror. Two beautiful stories are ”Clouds in her eyes” av Glenna Turnbull and ”Dinner with Jupiter” av Clare Diston. In “Clouds in Her Eyes”, Isabella is the wife of a rich man in the 17th or 18th century. When she sits for a portrait, the canvas is caught by the wind. She merges with it and goes on a journey, meets younger and older women, gives them advice, which for once can have freedom of action. In “Dinner with Jupiter”, the narrator eats, again, dinner alone during the pandemic. She envisions reaching up to the sky and picking down the planets to have as her centerpiece for her table, just for one night. ”Soulmate” av Paulene Turner find an interesting balance between being funny and dealing with death, mourning and moving on. Cassidy died and is in a kind of halfway house where souls become the living, releasing them completely. Some people have been there for a long time, especially some with fame like a Shakespeare. Cassidy’s fiancé is starting to move on, and she’s having a hard time coping. She is helped by the ghost of Franklin Kent, a star from the 1960s, whose memory is kept alive by a single fan. In this case, it can be difficult for people on both sides of the etheric divide to let go. i ”The best Pierogi in Kocierba”, Agnieszka Halas brings us the story of Paweł, who is stuck in his life. He has to help his mother recover from a special misfortune, and his girlfriend broke up with him because he could not move in with her. He goes to visit the glass mountain in Kocierba, the legends. The tour guide at the top takes the time to really talk to him, and he begins to see himself in the legend even when he returns to Krakow.
On the horror side of the general ledger, ”Small offers for a little god” av Virginia M. Mohlere describes a losing Field Marshall who is cursed to walk the wilderness in autonomous armor that does not let her feel or stop. She picks up a kind of god out there and starts making small sacrifices to it. As it grows into a small piece of power, it offers to remove the curse, and history does not shy away from what it means, or the question of when punishments of this kind may be just. ”Swallow it down” av Sarah Dropek contains Catherine, whose mother rejects. She had written something in a diary before she lost her use of language, and an urge forces Catherine to eat the diary pages. They had always had a hectic relationship, and this may be the last attempt by the mother to manipulate a daughter she was always disappointed with. Both of these stories are subtle, yet frightening.
Shoreline of Infinity is a Scottish venue that has been publishing since 2015. The March issue has the first two chapters of ”Approaching man”, a series of Eric Brown. It’s a noir-style detective story centered on Zorn, a private eye on AI. In the intro, he delves into VR to discover that a woman’s man is unfaithful to her … but is it with another woman or a VR fantasy? And which would be worse? The next chapter introduces the main plot when a friend’s brother disappears. The victim had pushed for a breakthrough in real human uploads, so there are several suspects who may have had both motive and opportunity to remove him from the scene. This seems to be a lot of fun. In keeping with a bit of a solar punk theme for this column, the edition also includes ”The tide rolled in” av Christopher R. Moscato, who won a solarpunk history competition. The main character in the story lives in a floating village in a future after sea level rise. She is a young girl and quite nervous about docking with a larger floating city for the first time. She is a document in hand and a plan that she will try to implement – and it turns out to be much more important and more hopeful than you initially expected.
” Dinner with Jupiter ”, Clare Diston (Luna station 22/3)
” Clouds in Her Eyes ”, Glenna Turnbull (Luna station 22/3)
” Phoenix Tile ”, Guan Un (khōréō 22/3)
This review and more like the June 2022 issue of Locus.
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