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

Clarkesworld #53, February 2011

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Clarkesworld #53, February 2011

“Diving After the Moon” by Rachel Swirsky
“Three Oranges” by D. Elizabeth Wasden

Reviewed by Joseph Giddings

Starting off with “Diving After the Moon” by Rachel Swirsky, we delve into the dreams of a boy named Norbu. His mother tells him tales of the moon and how a group of monkeys foolishly try to save the moon from a pool, only to find it is a reflection. He grows up with hopes to reach the moon on his own one day. When his dream comes true, politics get in the way, and he finds himself trapped in a place he cannot get away from.

It is a deep tale of magic and the power of imagination, and how we can dream big and one day make it there, but there are always risks. When Norbu's mother tries to rescue him, we cannot help but wonder if it's real of if it's just another dream. A great story from Swirsky that will keep you thinking long after you've finished it.

Next is “Three Oranges” by D. Elizabeth Wasden. A strange story about a Russian man who grows an orange tree in a pot in his home in Paris. An agent for Stalin's Soviet Union, he is ordered to turn over the Three Oranges to Stalin. He refuses, and instead uses them as a bargaining chip to maintain his life in Paris, not wanting to leave to return to Moscow.

I found this story very engaging, and in my imagination I could see the dark and grays everywhere in the colors of the story, with only the color orange standing out in bold contrast to everything else. Of course, when the red of blood comes into the picture it also stands apart.

Overall, “Three Oranges” is a strong story with a lot of powerful imagery and some dark reminders of a time long past, back when Mother Russia was everywhere, and power came from those who could seize it for themselves.