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

Flash Fiction Online #57, June 2018

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Flash Fiction Online #57, June 2018

The Strawberry Queen of Irapuato” by Sarah Beaudette

Place Your Bets” by David Whitaker
Songs in the Key of Chamomile” by Rebecca Birch (reprint, not reviewed)

Reviewed by Jeffrey Steven Abrams

The Strawberry Queen of Irapuato” by Sarah Beaudette

This story takes a look at four teenagers disfigured by toxic waste. Mentally normal, their features are too alien for the general public, so they are sequestered in a prison-like healthcare facility. Of the four, only Irina, attractive prior to her exposure and now encased in an enameled body cast, wants to escape.

Tenderly written, “Queen” is a sad but compelling story on societal views toward beauty and what happens when it is lost.

Place Your Bets” by David Whitaker

War is good for the economy. That’s the theme of Whitaker’s tale of greed and abuse in a galaxy too long at peace. Looking for greater profits, vastly wealthy Mr. Park seeks to stir up markets by inciting a dispute with a seemingly peaceful species.

Even though I was uninspired by the opening line, “Goddamn, it was hot,” the rest of the story is engaging and wonderfully written. For those disturbed by the parallels between “Place Your Bets” and real life, you will be pleased by the ending’s silver lining.