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

Aurealis SF #71, June 2014

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Aurealis #71, June 2014

"Ascension" by Michael Grey
"Clean Hands, Dirty Hands" by Emma Osborne

Reviewed by Wayne Harris

"Ascension" by Michael Grey shows the life of a stone age tribe waiting for the onset of winter, with the old women telling stories of monsters coming to take the children away. But it turns out that perhaps the stories are true when Drake discovers that the erelim (sic), will appear to take the strongest warrior from each tribe. The tribe appears to accept its fate but Drake cannot.

This is a good story and the characters come across clearly. There is an interesting view on the reasons for this situation and the consequences of the actions of previous characters. But the presentation lacks tension and excitement.

"Clean Hands, Dirty Hands" by Emma Osborne is the story of Evan, a gold miner in the Australian 1850s gold rush. He has a special talent for finding things that aren't visible and has learnt to hide it and avoid people, but is forced back into town by hunger where he is at great risk.

This is an excellent story. Well told and exciting with a very enjoyable ending. It brings to life the struggles and difficulties of living in a mining village and the consequences of a powerful talent. It is highly recommended.