Aurealis #66, November 2013

Aurealis #66, November 2013

Reviewed in this issue are:

“The Sheep King” by Chris Stabback
“Burning Green” by O J Cade

In “The Sheep King” by Chris Stabback, Slutty Jack is full of shit. Just ask any of the locals. So when Jack regales the bar—again—with his story about how the Sheep King, a monster, killed his friend in three flashes of thunder, the locals give Jack about as much attention as he deserves. A stranger to town, however, is more attentive to the tale about a murderous mass of sheep, grown together as a single organism along with anything else that got entangled in its fleece. A piece of flash fiction, the tale is over before one has a chance to delve too far into it or try to unravel it.

Julia and Harry’s child was stillborn. Instead of cremating the baby’s corpse, they bury it. Thus begins O J Cade’s story, “Burning Green.” This tale includes Doom beer and fire-dependent plants. The grieving parents experience the silent tension between them. Julia’s body changes so that it is leaking sweet water, which she uses in their barren homeland to water roses planted atop the baby’s grave. When they take a sabbatical to get away from the familiar and hopefully heal, Harry gives Julia a wood pendant. Nobody but she can see the magical changes the pendant undergoes. In time, Julia becomes pregnant again. Desperate to avoid another ordeal like that of the earlier birth, she performs a ritual and burns the pendant. This is a speculative fiction story that treats an unfortunate event with a lot of lifecycle symbolism.

A version of this review appears on the Tangent Online website.

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