"A Lock of Ra" by Sandra McDonald
"Maggie’s Christmas List" by Pam McNew
"Scales" by Samantha Henderson
Issue 12 of Lone Star Stories comes with a website overhaul. The dated HTML look has been replaced by a stylish, modern design which can’t help but reflect favorably upon it.
Set against a futuristic backdrop where things are no longer rosy for the United States, Sandra McDonald‘s overly long "A Lock of Ra" centers around a mother, Ann, and Lindsay, her terminally ill daughter whose hospital stay is brightened by the gift of a locket from her grandmother. Unfortunately, such a heart-wrenching situation is portrayed in little more than a few set pieces recognizable from any tear-jerker and so fails to emotionally engage the reader. There are, however, bright spots such as the father’s emotional state, Lindsay’s reaction when she finds out what the locket is made of, the cynical use of celebrity, and Ann’s discovery that gifts from the public are not necessarily what they seem. Oddly, the ending is both surprising and unsurprising, though its cheesiness does meld well with the overall feel of the piece.
Pam McNew‘s interesting and unconventional vignette, "Maggie’s Christmas List," perfectly captures the faulty and fragmented nature of childhood memories and offers a slight blink-and-you-might-miss-it speculative chill to a yuletide story.
"Scales," Samantha Henderson‘s simple fable of a girl whose sister is stolen by one of the Snake-folk is beautifully evocative with a delightful ending. Read it.