Diabolical Plots #46, December 2018
“The Hammer’s Prayer” by Benjamin C. Kinney
Reviewed by Kat Day
“The Hammer’s Prayer” by Benjamin C. Kinney is set in a Boston airport. The protagonist, Jakob, is a security guard, but there are early suggestions that his nature may not be quite the same as the other officers working at the airport. He arrives one day and finds himself inspecting a bronze sculpture, which awakens a long-suppressed need. This is a moving story with beautiful imagery that straddles the genres of science fiction and fantasy. There are some perfectly-placed lines here, not least: “No weaponsmith ever made the world more peaceful,” which is one of those sentences that leaves you nodding as you consider its implications both within the story and without. My only tiny grumble is that the ending is rather open, making this feel more like a prologue than a stand-alone piece. That said, I would gladly read more of Jakob’s story; I hope we get to see more of him.
Diabolical Plots’s second story this month is “For the Last Time, It’s Not a Ray Gun” by Anaea Lay. It begins with introverted Connor on a date with Kayla, who he is convinced is his soul-mate—even if she hasn’t realized that they’re even on a date. Kayla, it turns out, has some very strong ideas about the way people ought to behave in public. This is a silly, fun piece with a dark edge that feels particularly appropriate at this time of year. Haven’t we all thought, at one time or another, that the world would be a much nicer place if everyone just thought and behaved in a certain way? Clever and thought-provoking writing—have a read, possibly with a nice cup of tea.
Kat Day makes children handle fire and dangerous chemicals for a living (it’s okay, she’s a chemistry teacher). When not doing that, she spends her time writing and trying to wrangle her own two children into line (without fire or dangerous chemicals, because that would be frowned upon). She has had a short story published in Daily Science Fiction, another in the anthology “24 Stories,” and one is due to be broadcast on the Cast of Wonders podcast on the 23rd of December. You can follow her on Twitter @chronicleflask.