Cabinet of Wonders: Star Maidens, Spores & The Singularity

Francken
Cabinet of Curiosities by Francken

web fiction reviews by Lauren Colie

This week’s reading has got me feeling funny…and sad…and wistful…and sort of floaty. And weird, of course. Let these writers take you on a trip. Whether it’s to the moon and back or infinity and beyond, we’ve got you covered.

A Review of The Star Maiden, by Roshani Choksi at Shimmer Magazine

I already knew what she would say. To anyone who would listen, she would tell them the tale of how she had floated down from the heavens to a secluded forest pool and how, there, my grandfather had fallen in love, captured her, and wedded her shortly thereafter…

Tala grew up believing Lola’s stories, calmly accepting her grandmother was a star maiden who fell in love with a mortal. But, puberty brings great changes — and great doubt. Tala loses patience with the grand, colorful tales of her youth, with Lola’s love for dance and the secret project hidden in her grandmother’s closet. Really, the last straw is the horrible, hideous dress Lola made for her 80th birthday party that Tala is expected to wear.

“Lola told stories the way people breathed—naturally,” and so does Roshani Choksi. This one rippled and rolled along — so naturally, in fact, tears blindsided me (you’ll find out why). Choksi has me on the phone with my own grandmother…which is some pretty powerful storytelling.

Read it HERE

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A Review of Elegy for the Green Earthrise, by Joanne Rixon at Crossed Genres

I’m a materials physicist. I believe in matter and energy, precise mathematics and repeatable experimental results; I’ve never believed in the soul. I knew I was only an arrangement of flesh: wide hips, soft shoulders – hungry tumors. Death by cancer is a strange thing to understand…

Marissa is going to die, leaving her girlfriend, her dreams and her green earth behind. That is, until the Singularity Foundation downloads her mind to give humanity hope after whatever’s coming, comes. See the world with new eyes (or cameras) in this sci-fi but still all-too-real snapshot of the end of the world. I’m walking away feeling strange…what makes a human, human?

Joanne Rixon asks us to feel a lot of things in a little space, and asks us to ask. What makes me, me? You, you? Love, love? And let’s not forget climate change, while we’ve got our minds in high gear. She weaves together all of these complex emotions and critiques and reduces them down to the singularity: I’m here.

Read it HERE

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A Review of It Brought Us All Together, by Marissa Lingen at Strange Horizons

My next class wasn’t like that, because my geography teacher, Mr. Mizuno, wanted to talk about the spread of fungal plagues worldwide. He had all sorts of slides to put on the screen, different colors for deadly and less deadly variants of the same fungus. It was fascinating. It was horrible. He refused to send anybody to the grief counselors.

Coping with the death of a classmate is no big deal for Andrea — her parents died from the same plague. Unfortunately, tears run rampant at school as students who barely knew Terra mourn the loss. Just like the deadly spores swirling outside, hysteria filters through the school and poor Andrea tries to keep her distance. Her mask of “normal” slips for one unexpected partner in misery: Terra’s ex-boyfriend.

Marissa Lingen explores grief in a world not so different from our own. This one uses an unreal place to help you understand the very real emotions of love and loss — and how people really come together in times of crisis.

Read it HERE

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