Aurealis #73, August 2014

Aurealis #73, August 2014

Reviewed in this issue are:

“Refraction” by Daniel Baker
“Kisses with Teeth” by Allan Chen

In “Refraction” by Daniel Baker, Maya Adams is a scavenger on a dystopian world where only the rich can afford to live underground, away from the toxic aboveground environment. She goes into dangerous places like the wilds or abandoned shopping malls in search of samples of the past—books, animal parts, and the like. There are those for whom these things are treasures. She supplies the commodities in order to buy her family a little bit better life. Maya runs afoul of mobsters, some of whom want her dead while others want to use her skills for their own purposes. She decides to leave her family before they become collateral damage. There is a lot of futuristic gadgetry that seems to be standard for the time. However, some of it also seems antithetical to the dismal future this story portrays.

“Kisses with Teeth” by Allan Chen is about Ethan, who has abnormal teeth. For starters, after a toothache, when he pulls them out by hand, pointy fangs grow back. The roots of his teeth take over his gums, and his lips recede. After that comes his appetite for raw meat. He tries to avoid it by sheer willpower. Obsessively cleaning his apartment after every incident of bloody tooth loss or vomiting after eating meat that isn’t just right, he becomes a recluse who hides his mouth behind flu masks or scarves when he must venture out. When his girlfriend, Abby, pays him a surprise visit, things come to a head. This is not as horrific as it could have been—no gratuitous blood and gore.

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

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