Penumbra #19, April 2013

Penumbra #19, April 2013

Reviewed in this issue are:

“Losing Home” by Jamie Lackey
“Two to The Power of One” by Melanie Rees
“And With Ah! Bright Wings! (For the twenty. For all)” by KM Tonso
“Ol’ Soapy’s Revenge” by Marina Lostetter
“The Skeleton In Her Closet” by Heidi Kneale

The general theme this issue is “Lost.”

Like all good villains, The Keepers in Jamie Lackey’s “Losing Home” are the heroes of their own stories. They are liberating “infidels” by gifting them hideous, heart-eating worms that must enter the host body through the big toe of the left foot. Jen, the protagonist who has lost just about everyone she cares about to these liberators, decides to take her revenge. Though the basic plot is familiar, the tale has a few surprises.

Kenneth, the main character in Melanie Rees’s dark tale, “Two to the Power of One,” is an antihero and a mathematical geek. The story’s title is based on the mathematical fact that any number raised to the power of “one” equals itself. When Kenneth is stuck on a dilapidated space shuttle with Jackson and Anya, they must find a way to survive. The end of the story nicely ties up all the loose ends from the beginning. Count on it.

At first glance, KM Tonso’s “And With Ah! Bright Wings! (For the twenty. For all)” seems to be about Paul, a man who has seen too many children die, and his response to the mind-numbing tragedy of so many lost souls. By the end of the story, it’s clear that the tale is as much about what the ghosts of these children find when they come to his house and the long-lasting legacy that creates. A touching story about creating the right place in the right time to do the right thing.

“Ol’ Soapy’s Revenge” by Marina Lostetter is a time travel story that shows what happens when humans can’t agree about what to do with alien technology. The shortest story in this month’s issue, it is also the funniest.

Janet, the hero of “The Skeleton In Her Closet” by Heidi Kneale, becomes the unexpected beneficiary of a deceased librarian friend’s clothes. The surprising outfits in the “ginormous” closet make Janet reevaluate her own life and realize that she’s done nothing noteworthy with it. She becomes driven with a need to leave something memorable behind when she dies. Though the speculative fiction bona fides are questionable here, it is, nonetheless, a fun read.

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

Comments are closed.

Scroll To Top