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

Aurealis #107, February 2018

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Aurealis #107, February 2018

"Duende" by J M Donellan

"Traces" by Joanne Anderton
"Sea Change" by Jordan Taylor

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

The latest issue of this Australian magazine offers a trio of stories featuring characters who have suffered serious losses.

The protagonist of "Duende" by J M Donellan is dead when the story begins. His ghost feels compelled to confess his sins to his lover, but faces an unexpected obstacle. Narrated in a sardonic way, this darkly comic tale has a serious point to make about guilt.

"Traces" by Joanne Anderton is set in Japan after a tsunami destroyed a nuclear reactor. A robot collects samples from the contaminated area, searching for a particular type of DNA for its creator. A woman in an environmental suit shows up, and the robot learns the reason for its quest, as well as the fate of its maker. This story is an emotionally powerful one, even if there are few surprises in the plot.

A lonely high school student whose mother left when she was a child is the main character in "Sea Change" by Jordan Taylor. She meets another girl who has lost her mother. Her new friend helps her overcome her fear of the ocean and forgive her mother for leaving. There is a major fantasy element, but it is not necessary to the plot, and may seem overly familiar. Otherwise, this is an effective story of growing up which is likely to appeal to young adults.


Victoria Silverwolf noticed that the first names of all three authors start with the same letter.