“The Resurrectionist” by J.P. Sullivan
Reviewed by Rebecca DeVendra
J.P. Sullivan’s “The Resurrectionist” opens with a man’s request that his dead wife be brought back to the world of the living against her will. While awful, the tone of the story is light and makes for a pleasurable read. No stomach-twisting-into-knots moments here, Sullivan is more interested in writing an adventure. The story hits some satisfying points, and all costs are paid in full by the characters, leaving a bittersweet ending for the reader to contemplate.
“Cut from Cracked Ice” by Jared W. Cooper is a story about people with psionic abilities. Minds latch to other minds, and everyone picks a “Theory” (analogous to picking a major in college) to peruse after graduation. Renei chooses cryokinesis, to the chagrin of her mother. The crux of the story is in the tumultuous relationship Renei has with her mother, which takes a sinister, albeit predictable, turn midway. The overall tone of the story is melancholic, the ending lachrymose.
“The Memory Thief” by Ken Altabef is about a man at the end of his life, contemplating his memories in a nursing home. He visualizes a demon of sorts physically accosting him and stealing his memories right from under his nose. He grabs its heel at one point, and demands it desist. The story vacillates between two narratives: either this guy is crazy, or the fantastic things he sees are real. It boils down to a retelling of Peter Pan where the young boy seeks out the old man to give him a glimpse into his world. It’s sweet, if not a bit saccharine at times.
“Not-Sisters” by Shannon Peavey is an unsettling tale about the girl Alina and a man called the Doctor, who eats creature’s hearts. Alina hears the voice of her not-sister, a twin that was never born. The doctor coaxes the not-sister out of Alina’s body by constructing a mask that traps the twin inside it. Peavey expertly weaves a macabre tension into the story as it goes on, and the ending does not disappoint.
“Hell Sat and Bantered” by Allison Mulder is a tale about women oracles. The main character sees a future relationship that doesn’t work in the end, but tries it out anyway. “All the ends are bad if you follow them far enough,” says a prophetic grandmother. Who likes being a prophet, really? People kill them, because they don’t like bad news. Excellent story-telling that is intriguing throughout.
“Nemesis Inside!” by Amanda Rankin is about a toy coming alive, a super villain with a tiny katana, gone rogue. It’s a short story but charming and light, sure to put a smile on the reader’s face.
Rebecca DeVendra is a figure artist and speculative fiction writer living in Boston. Her fiction can be found at Starship Sofa. She’s also a mom to three cacophonous, early-rising children. She’s probably in her pajamas, but she has an emergency collar shirt for video calls. Check out her blog.