Tangent Online

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Shimmer #32, July/August 2016

E-mail Print

Shimmer #32, July/August 2016

Painted Grassy Mire” by Nicasio Andres Reed

The Wombly” by K.L. Morris
glam-grandma” by Avi Naftali
The Singing Soldier” by Natalia Theodoridou

Reviewed by Kevin P Hallett

There are four original stories in this issue. One flash and 3 short stories.

Painted Grassy Mire” by Nicasio Andres Reed

This is a fantasy about a young girl, born into the harsh life of a remote fisherman’s village. The story reveals the lonely life she leads as she fantasizes about the alligators and a large nest they’ve built on an island. Her mother died a while ago and her taciturn father offers little as companionship. In time, she discovers her mother had a prized alligator skin but her father gambled it away. When a storm rakes their village, she is lost as their home is destroyed, her mother’s alligator skin becomes her salvation as she is transformed into a creature.

Not an engaging story at first, the mystery does begin to claim the reader’s attention by the mid-point. The ending was strange and not very satisfying to this reader.

The Wombly” by K.L. Morris

Womblies attach themselves to a host slowly transforming the host to glass, tin, wool, or soap. The innocence of their name belies the deadliness of their curse as they flit from person to person, passed by a mere touch. Once passed on, the original host remains partially converted, the longer they play the host the more they transmute until they eventually become fully converted and die.

In this bizarre short fantasy we meet a family whose father has taken in a soap Wombly, he passes it to the youngest, and then the mother takes it, but the last child refuses to touch and accept it. As the mother slowly changes to soap the eldest child goes in search of a bearer to take this soap Wombly.

This engaging short story is easy to read as it explores a mother’s love and a child’s family obligations. How do people handle such adversity when the common enemy they fight is more like a disease?

glam-grandma” by Avi Naftali

Set in a future where grandparents can choose who they want as grandkids we meet a young boy with several part-time grandmas. But he seems to enjoy his glam-grandma best and has several adventures as they crash one Sunday brunch after another. In the end, though, they drift apart.

The glam-grandma adapts to the ‘brunch scene’ and begins to become not only accepted, but also desirable. The boy’s out-of-place look becomes a liability and she goes to seek another, more acceptable, grandkid. The story ends with a role reversal twist.

This engaging piece of short science fiction gives us a few looks at a strange future. In the background there are hints that all is not well in this possible future. An easy read that explores the two characters and their interactions and leaves some mysteries for the readers to fathom for themselves.

The Singing Soldier” by Natalia Theodoridou

Theodoridou’s poignant flash fantasy has a tin soldier that sings each evening in a language the family cannot understand. A simple hard working family that works the land, they come to accept the tiny tin soldier and listen to its singing. The Pa believes it is a blessing. In time, life goes against the simple family as foreigners invade their country and enslave them. When the singing tin soldier is their only respite, the conquerors force them off their land. In the end, the daughter decides to use the tin soldier for a final act of defiance.

This story is hard to put down as its mysteries tangle up with the family’s fortitude. There is much in the story for the reader to think about human nature, both good and bad.