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

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #282, July 18, 2019

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Beneath Ceaseless Skies #282, July 18, 2019

Gert of the Hundred” by L. S. Johnson

Faêl” by Tobi Ogundiran

Reviewed by Kevin P Hallett

The 282nd issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies has two original stories; both are good to read.

Gert of the Hundred” by L. S. Johnson

The village women consider Gert an outsider in this fantasy novelette. She speaks with a strange accent and claims to be a lone survivor from the hundred massacred in a distant village. Now she makes medicinal drafts from the leaves growing in her garden and listens to the messages from the spiders. The village is under autocratic rulers, who bring in poor forced labor to build a special tower.

The trouble for Gert begins when Nicholas, a deprived boy from the tower builders, comes seeking help for his dying mother. Soon, other tower children seek her remedies, which in turn leads to scrutiny from the village’s overseer.

When Nicholas disappears, Gert goes in search of answers. What she discovers, quite literally turns her skin inside out.

The well-conceived plot was full of mystery, pulling the reader through to a most unusual ending.

Faêl” by Tobi Ogundiran

Sur, a Faêl, is taking the crystalline body of his wife to the ancient city of Kishi for burial in this short fantasy. Escorted by Godo, a manling, he searches for a place to inter her heavy coffin.

For centuries he’s waged war on behalf of his master Elehua. But now his master is gone, and his wife has urged him to stop killing on behalf of Elehua. As he buries his wife and waits for his own demise, he is unaware that he’s playing a part in a much larger plot.

The author steeped the story in mystery to create a compelling read.