Flash Fiction Online #65, February 2019

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Flash Fiction Online #65, February 2019

“Safebuoys” by Wes Smiderle

“Cold Comfort” by Evan Dicken (reprint, not reviewed)
“Our Cousins, Whom We Do Not Use As Directed” by Claire Humphrey
“Quilting With the Rejects” by Megan Lee Beals

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

The current issue of this electronic magazine of short-short stories offers a balance of science fiction and fantasy.

“Safebuoys” by Wes Smiderle takes place aboard a lifeboat after disaster strikes a space colony. It contains a mother and her young son, who is deathly ill from radiation. Drifting aimlessly through the void, they face a crisis when another lifeboat comes into view.

This story combines imaginative concepts of hard science fiction with great empathy for its characters. The author creates a believable situation that touches the reader’s emotions, while avoiding sentimentality.

“Our Cousins, Whom We Do Not Use As Directed” by Claire Humphrey is a surreal tale in which inanimate objects have somehow become relatives of living people. There is no explanation for this, nor does the situation change how the objects behave. The story offers a great deal of sensory detail and an unusual mood, but the bizarre concept fails to lead to anything.

In “Quilting With the Rejects” by Megan Lee Beals, a man has the ability to make new clothing from scraps of used cloth, retaining the good feelings of those who wore them before. He teaches this skill to a fellow who selects cloth with bad memories, leading to a potentially dangerous situation.

This tale of magic realism features likable characters. The author makes a supernatural premise believable. The resolution is unexpected, and ends the story in an optimistic way.

Victoria Silverwolf is pleasantly surprised to see that this issue contains no mainstream fiction.