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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #117, March 21, 2013

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Beneath Ceaseless Skies, March 21, 2013

Reviewed by John Sulyok

 “Armistice Day” by Marissa Lingen

What happens to soldiers when the war ends and they have nothing left to fight? What happens when they don’t have a home to go back to, because they were conjured out of thin air? Who do they trust when most people would see them simply unsummoned and magicked away? The sergeant-turned-cook in Marissa Lingen’s story has to face the plight of her people and understand the true meaning of armistice.

“Armistice Day” is written with a simple, straightforward style. Most of the plot takes place in dialogue that is pleasant enough. If anything, there isn’t enough conflict beyond the philosophical question of what it means to have a right to exist, though it is a novel approach to the genre.

“Blood Remembers” by Alec Austin

Prince Anton is concerned with “biblioclast and anti-Pope” Immaculate XII’s influence over the people. Books are burned and people are left uneducated masses. Anton takes matters into his own hands and uses questionable magic to fight back. What price is worth freedom? Any, if Anton will have his way.

Alec Austin creates some curious characters and an immersive world, but it feels like this story belongs in a longer piece. There is a lack of conflict that would put the main characters in any real danger, and so there is a lack of concern on the part of the reader. The story plays out, no twists, no turns. This story needs a little something more.