Review of “On First Contacts and Second Chances” by Markus Lauerer

The story opens by telling the reader Earth’s first and only contact with an alien civilization has been a failure. This is not because of hostility. There was no threat to life as we know it, nor did an earth bug wipe the aliens out. We and the aliens, despite everyone’s best attempts, simply didn’tContinue reading “Review of “On First Contacts and Second Chances” by Markus Lauerer”

Review of “The Feather Pillow” by Horacio Quiroga: Halloween Countdown

Alicia and Jordan return from their three-month honeymoon deeply in love, but Alicia never feels at home in the new house. She is young, “angelic” and timid. She loves her husband who loves her in return. He just never shows it. She never complains about the house or the white patio with its friezes, columnsContinue reading “Review of “The Feather Pillow” by Horacio Quiroga: Halloween Countdown”

Review of “The Dunwich Horror” by H. P. Lovecraft: Halloween countdown

For Halloween, I’m going to try to review a horror. ghost. or otherwise theme story each day in October. Wish me luck. One of author Lovecraft’s most enduring and influential works, “The Dunwich Horror” begins with the birth of one Wilbur Whateley on Candlemas, 1913. His mother, a “half-deformed albino” who lives with her fatherContinue reading “Review of “The Dunwich Horror” by H. P. Lovecraft: Halloween countdown”

Review of “Apex Predators” by Lance J. Mushung

The unnamed narrator and his only companion, Krenote, man an early warning station. The narrator stares at the deep black speckled with tiny dots, waiting for something to happen. Krenote decides to debate whether the unknown species known as Humans exist. It is an old debate. An official report from a Brontian prisoner told ofContinue reading “Review of “Apex Predators” by Lance J. Mushung”

Review of “The New Bedside, Bathtub, & Armchair Companion to Agatha Christie” edited by Dick Riley and Pam McAllister

  This is a guide to nearly everything Agatha Christie wrote, with blessedly spoiler-free plot summaries. It not only describes novels, short stories, and plays, but it gives character profiles and asides on topics like poisons and English country house life. If that weren’t enough, the editors have thrown in some crossword puzzles. Fair warning:Continue reading “Review of “The New Bedside, Bathtub, & Armchair Companion to Agatha Christie” edited by Dick Riley and Pam McAllister”

Review of “Dear Human” by Cosmo Mercurio

This brief tale takes the form of two letters addressed to the human race. Neither are signed. It’s not clear who the letters are from, but it doesn’t really matter. Some humans fear technology, particularly the internet of things, will become less of a tool and more of a master. The letter-writer wishes to assureContinue reading “Review of “Dear Human” by Cosmo Mercurio”

Review of “True Enough Believers” by Karl Lykken

This short piece looks at a time in the not-too-distant future when the algorithms that analyze our shopping and voting habits determine more than those. Cameras see more and microphones hear more. The average citizen puts on a show for the public as well as their closest family members. The consequences of non-conformity are notContinue reading “Review of “True Enough Believers” by Karl Lykken”

Review of “Universal Reality” by Michael Allen Lane

Jovak is about to enter the last keystroke that will implement drastic alterations to the software. The coding changes have been completed, and beta testing found no faults. These updates will test the versatility of the test subjects. He stretches his twenty-four arms, wiggling the twelve fingers on each and presses the button— The codingContinue reading “Review of “Universal Reality” by Michael Allen Lane”

Review of “takotsubo cardiomyopathy” by Gage Johnston

Ruby and Tom met at a “pitch,” a job interview. Neither got the job, but they went out together for a drink. They decided to “share a space.” Because they didn’t take a compatibility test, they had to pay an extra deposit. Everything goes well until Ruby gets a promotion. Now, she will be makingContinue reading “Review of “takotsubo cardiomyopathy” by Gage Johnston”

Review of “To the editor: Monsters belong in schools” by Zella Christensen

As the title implies, this story takes the form of a letter to the editor, echoing nicely all polite sneering and the righteous indignation often found in such missives. At issue is the time-honored tradition of keeping various monsters in the dungeons of schools. The letter-writer concedes an earlier point from a “well-intentioned” Miss TickalContinue reading “Review of “To the editor: Monsters belong in schools” by Zella Christensen”