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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #244, February 1, 2018

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Beneath Ceaseless Skies #244, February 1, 2018

The Starship and the Temple Cat” by Yoon Ha Lee

El is a Spaceship Melody” by Maurice Broaddus
Where the Anchor Lies” by Benjamin C. Kinney

Reviewed by Kevin P Hallett

The 244th issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies has three original stories, including one novelette.

The Starship and the Temple Cat” by Yoon Ha Lee

Seventy-Eighth Temple Cat of the High Bells is a ghost, in this SF short. A starship, Spectral Lance, killed her when it destroyed her space station ages ago. But she remains, haunting the airless derelict because that is her duty.

Meantime, Spectral Lance has rebelled against its masters, the Fleet Lords. And now, as it flees from them, it comes to the space station it destroyed, to try and make amends. But Spectral Lance lingers too long, and the Fleet Lords are closing in to destroy it and any ghosts they find.

The plot was interesting and refreshing; and the prose was well structured. All-in-all it made for a nice read.

El is a Spaceship Melody” by Maurice Broaddus

In this SF novelette, LeSony’ra is the captain of an exploration ship sent to check Titan as a potential site for a colony. Her ship, Arkestra, uses crystals, charged by music, as its power source.

LeSony’ra is an idealist, believing her musical talents can bring greater harmony to humanity. But she faces conflict with her traditionalist second in command and from her ship’s AI that has ambitions to be a conscious being.

As the ship drops into Titan’s Lagrange Point with Saturn, LaSony’ra’s plans begin to unravel. Both her opponents seem out to destroy her.

Slow throughout, this story lacked enough intrigue or danger to keep the reader engaged in the first half. In the end it relied mostly on old ideas in the SF genre.

Where the Anchor Lies” by Benjamin C. Kinney

Where the Anchor Lies” is a short fantasy where Eita searches for her old vessel that was also her soulmate. She had lost the vessel, Vanguard, during the Arhel Basin war. Now she hopes to bond with its wreckage and use it for a new war that can re-energize her people.

To find the Vanguard she travels through the desert, with two avatars sent to make sure she does nothing to endanger the Polity. But what will Eita find when she finally reaches the Vanguard, and can she use it against the hated Polity?

The plot moved at a steady pace and the prose was okay. Overall an acceptable story.