Strange Horizons, October 17 & 19, 2015

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Special Double Review

by Eric Kimminau & Christos Antonaros


The Game of Smash and Recovery” by Kelly Link (reviewed by Eric Kimminau)
Artemis, with Wildflowers” by Ani King (reviewed by Christos Antonaros)


Strange Horizons, October 17, 2015

The Game of Smash and Recovery” by Kelly Link

Reviewed by Eric Kimminau

In “The Game of Smash and Recovery” by Kelly Link, there is definitely a Halloween flair with killer robot “handmaids” and vampires opening our discovery of Anat, a young girl, and her brother Oscar, who live in a ship, “The bucket,” above a planet “Home,” exploring the warehouses built by the Warehouse Builders and cataloging items to sell for their parents, who have been gone. They left Oscar to look after Anat when it became clear that “Anat was different.” Anat’s “handmaids” explore the surface and protect her from the “vampires” who want nothing more than to feed on the siblings. The “game” of Smash and Recovery was created by the siblings to teach Anat how to safely search and seek and use the resources available to her, allowing her and the handmaids to explore the entire surface, except in the “Stay Out Territory.” But Anat is growing smarter the longer they wait for their parents return and she hates to lose their games. A sudden twist radically changes every assumption and turns the entire story 180 degrees from where it started. Until Anat is not Anat but Anat is Anat and Oscar may someday again be what he was but never again who he was. And the Handmaidens are content and procreating and the vampires are pleased to have been given a task. And like the Ship, Anat is content. Another fantastic story unlike any I have ever read before.

Eric Kimminau is a BBS geek turned IT professional.

Strange Horizons, October 19, 2015

Artemis, with Wildflowers” by Ani King

Reviewed by Christos Antonaros

Artemis, with Wildflowers” by Ani King, is the re-imagining of the ancient Greek myth of Artemis, the goddess of hunting, the best archer among gods and men, and the protector of forests and virginity. She was also the twin sister of Apollo, the god of the sun. Orion was a giant, who had outstanding archery skills and was therefore renowned as a hunter. His skills made him the only man with whom Artemis would ever fall in love. The story goes that Artemis’ jealous twin Apollo tricked his sister so she would kill Orion with a fatal shot from a distance.

In Ani King’s version, nothing changes from the original myth, except that she recasts the story in different eras. If something makes this story different, it is the computer programming format the author uses to describe the different versions. Through this exclusive technique, she tries to tell us the same story will go on and on.

It was hard for me to grasp the use of the particular format, and I would prefer to read a paragraph for each version of the story. Maybe the author was trying to communicate in her own way, but I felt like I was left out of her point of view. Nevertheless, the final part where Ani King describes the picture of Artemis pointing her arrow towards Orion, was impressive. It made me create a full image of it in my head, and I could envision the scene as I wanted to stop the goddess from killing her one true love. As a Greek and an admirer of mythology, I respect any author who is inspired by stories such as that of Artemis and Orion. And I admit that I feel proud every time I read stories based on my motherland’s legends.

Christos Antonaros is a dark fiction author with a love for European mythology.