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

Strange Horizons, February 3, 10, & 17, 2014

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Strange Horizons, February 3, 10, and 17, 2014

Strange Horizons, February 3, 2014

"21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One)" by LaShawn M. Wanak

Reviewed by Jamie Lackey

The spiral staircases in "21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One)" by LaShawn M. Wanak appear to people when they need distance and perspective. Throughout the story, Isa climbs three staircases—one as a teen, one that appears to her doubting mother, and one that she troops up with her family at her grandmother’s funeral. Each one gives her new insight on her life. The elements of magic realism work well, and the descriptions are lovely. I found the second person construction to be distancing, but the relationships that the story explores do resonate.

Strange Horizons, February 10, 2014

"Lysistrata of Mars" by Tory Hoke

Reviewed by Jamie Lackey

Kay traveled to the colony of New Plymouth for a fresh start, but she ends up taking a job as an exotic dancer to pay her rent. But when a high-end client demands services that she refuses to perform, the whole colony ends up embroiled in her problems. Kay learns the value of holding her ground, and along the way, she learns her own value as well. “Lysistrata of Mars” by Tory Hoke is a solid story with a strong protagonist, and the ending was satisfying.

Strange Horizons, February 17, 2014

"The Suitcase Aria" by Marissa Lingen

Reviewed by Jamie Lackey

The protagonist in “The Suitcase Aria” by Marissa Lingen is a soprano maschio in the Berlin opera house who uses his magic to keep the crowds from noticing him. But he has to take action when corpses start turning up in the canals under the opera house, and he finds himself stepping into the spotlight. The opening is a bit exposition-heavy, but the character’s arc is fulfilling, and the setting is neat.


Jamie Lackey lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cat. Her Kickstarter-funded short story collection, One Revolution, is available on Amazon.com. Find her online at www.jamielackey.com.