, April 2023, April 2023

“The Stars We Raised” by Xiu Xinyu (reprint, not reviewed)

“Salt Water” by Eugenia Triantafyllou

“The Woman Carrying a Corpse” by Chi Hui (reprint, not reviewed)

“Counting Casualties” by Yoon Ha Lee

Reviewed by Kevin P Hallett

There are four stories inside for April. Two were previously published.

“Salt Water” by Eugenia Triantafyllou

In this short fantasy, Anissa impatiently waits for her little fish to turn into a mermaid. It looks different as it swims in the bubble in her belly, but she thinks it could be the start of a mermaid. She has four more years before her fish will fully develop. Hopefully, it isn’t an octopus; those things would make her a witch.

Anissa’s parents are mermaids, so if her little acara fish isn’t a mermaid, she can’t swim with them. All the other kids make fun of her strange fish as it develops a bone behind its head. But then the local mermaid pool bans her because it looks like it’s becoming a tentacled creature. Anissa’s parents even send her to the local witch in case it’s an octopus that needs a friend.

This was a curious, different take on mermaids, making for a nice read.

“Counting Casualties” by Yoon Ha Lee

Niaja is a fleet commander sent to stop the Deaders in this short SF sroey set in a distant future. The Deaders’ fleet of more powerful starships is four times the size of Niaja’s fleet. So Niaja’s ship commanders assume it will be a suicide mission.

Niaja expects to exploit the only apparent Deaders weakness, which will require taking considerable risks. But the first engagement doesn’t go as Niaja plans, leaving the fleet captured and following in the Deaders’ wake across the galactic sector. Humans have tried to discover what these Deaders want; maybe now’s the chance to find out.

This space opera was slow for the first half before the pace picked up near the end.

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