Fantastic Stories #223, December 2014

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Fantastic Stories #223, December 2014

Chocolateland” by Shariann Lewitt

Sleepers” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

Reviewed by Michelle Ristuccia

In “Chocolateland” by Shariann Lewitt, Nora invents a virtual Chocolateland as a safe place to eat as many of her mother’s forbidden brownies as she wants, but this doesn’t stop her mother from calling her fat and too smart for a girl when she visits for Christmas. Then, Nora suddenly has unexpected power over her mother, and, for better or for worse, must chose between empathy and revenge. Lewitt skillfully portrays the pettiness of human nature in this negative mother-daughter relationship.

In “Sleepers” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, the narrator’s encounters with paranormal spirits become a catalyst for dealing with the impending death of his/her father. Stufflebeam writes a poignant tale of grief that dips into the surreal to highlight how much we do not know about the supernatural and the afterlife. “Sleepers” was first published in the May 2014 issue of Interzone, though this is Tangent Online’s first opportunity to read and review it.

Michelle Ristuccia enjoys slowing down time in the middle of the night to read and review speculative fiction, because sleeping offspring are the best inspiration and motivation. You can find out more about her other writing projects and geeky obsessions by visiting her blog.