Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 206

I am continuing my reviews of stories in short fiction magazines. Here are reviews for the November issue of Clarkesworld Magazine.

Eddies are the Worst” by Bo Balder: A sister and her brother run a fish factory in a dystopian future where clones are the only day laborers available to them. The Eddies of the title are stupid and nearly useless clones. These are all that are left to the family to use in the factory. A story mostly about making the best of a bad situation. Well written with sympathy for what each character is going through. Just wish is had more to say. (My rating: 3/5)

Bird-Girl Builds a Machine” by Hannah Yang: A young girl (you) helps her mother build a machine that she says is for you, her daughter. Mom never explains what it is she is building. When it is complete, there is a surprising twist. Engaging and well-told. (My rating: 4/5)

The Long Mural” by James Van Pelt: A stowaway on a generation ark who has hidden himself for twelve years comes out to participate in painting a mural. A beautiful metaphor for illegal immigration. Filled with emotion and understanding. (My rating: 5/5)

The Parts That Make Me” by Louise Hughes: A sentient robot loses a part of himself in a skirmish. A story of found family and care for one another. (My rating: 4/5)

The Mub” by Thomas Ha: A person walking into a city is stalked by a mub. And what is a mub? I still don’t know. This story is an absurd metaphor that doesn’t quite land for me. I think it is about creators trying to be too much like other creators and not being original. However, it is very unsatisfying for me. (My rating: 2/5)

Eight or Die (Part 1)” by Thoraiya Dyer: A miner in Ecuador is recruited by aliens to help locate a wanted fugitive. Part two is in the next issue of Clarkesworld. (My rating (so far): 4/5)

Thin Ice” by Kemi Ashing-Giwa: A member of a race frozen and used as art supplies is a slave to the mechanical creature doing this awful work. Explores the relationship of someone held prisoner to the one holding them. In this case, it changed the enslaver a bit. A very dark story with only a small point to make. (My rating: 3/5)

To Carry You Inside You” by Tia Tashiro: A woman who had an implant installed as a child to become a working actor, in adulthood finds a new and unique way to use it. She uses it to be a vessel for dead people to visit their living relatives. The one shown in the story briefly takes over her body completely. The story gives a picture of both of these people and their motivations and tactics. The incredibly effective use of second person makes the change in who controls the body visceral for the reader. This one says a lot through story, exploring the motivations of both parties. Just a fantastic debut story! It is her first ever! (My rating: 5/5)

The overall rating for this issue comes in at 3.75 out of five stars. Clarkesworld is consistently excellent while also trying new things.

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