Short review: reckoning 7: creative writing on environmental Justice

Due to an enthusiastic review in Locus #747, I bought Reckoning 7 and read the biggest part of it. Re-reading the review again after having consumed the Reckoning issue, I dare say I bought the issue only because the review of The Air will catch us (Rejiv Moté) sounded so very interesting.  The story surely is a very interesting read and I am sad that so very few stories get translated to German (which is my mother tongue). 


For science fiction fans like me or at least a big fan of good short prose, this issue has some highlights, which I want to mention and to share with you.


Tweet of the review

Rajiv Moté:The Air will catch us

That's a five-minute read and a great one! The perspective is of the grandmother of little Nisha (still very young, but already in school). It's a first-person-perspective and at the beginning, the text feels like today. The grandmother walks her grandchild to a playground, she uses a rebreather plugged into her nostrils - not unheard of nowadays, isn't it?

But pretty fast it becomes clear that it's the world that has changed, not the health of the grandmother's lungs. 


It's not easy to build a world and tell a small story within five minutes. All is gained here, I become friends with the grandmother, there are moments of suspense when the children are about to fall from great heights and even something like a happy ending.


I retold the story to my child (seven years old) and she asked what will happen after the last sentence. I told her I do not know, but I am pretty sure it's something good, and the title implies that as well.


One of my favorites.


author's twitter: @RajivMote

author's website

Nadine Aurora Tabing: The Bright in the Gyre

What a great beginning!


"Near the end of the last year of her projected life expectancy, Cora knows she shouldn't be spending any moment on frivolities."


Cora has a trash lung and not much time left:

What do you do if there is not much time left? This is the question of the story, but my question while and after reading is:

What do I do with my life, as it clearly will have an ending, even if it's not around the corner?



The Worldbuilding is original; there is a solution for all our plastic trash, even very old plastic trash can be reduced to "harmless, reasonably edible mushrooms". 


When there is not much time left, every day is valuable. What have I done with my days since I have read that story? 


There is a lot of criticism in the story:

"She wants days, months, years, more, everything: her whole life, all the years she should have had left, stolen from her because she was cheaper than the unspeakable complexities of a corporation cleaning up after itself."


The ending is unexpected and beautiful without cheating.


author's twitter: @suchnadine

author's website

Ruth Joffre: Icedriver

I am so thankful that the author has not taken an easy way out of this short story and there's a clear b-story in it, a nice premise, even if it's maybe too clearly stated. 


Vira, the perspective figure and protagonist, is half sirenx and can spend time underwater. her mother cannot spend so much time under water, but her father used to be able to do so and Vira has inherited these capabilities. He vanished back to the underground sea when Vira was only a year old.

Vira still lives with her mother and the relationship between the two women is described a lot between the lines, as is Vira's longing for her absent father.

Vira does jobs under-water, which makes a lot of sense. Once she has an especially difficult and well-paid job and gets to know Pod, who lives in an underwater town and via Pod, Vira can visit the town. 

There is a lot to learn for her and in the end, she begins to understand something about herself and something about her father. The reader might be able to see things differently about being different in our own world.


I really doubt this story can take place in 2036, but maybe it's just an alternate reality. Not our 2036.


author's twitter: @Ruth_Joffre

author's website

Floris M. Kleijne: Yellow River Burial

Again a short story that touched my heart in only a couple of minutes.


Al and Bobby spent 50+ years together in a home with a garden. Now Bobby has died quite suddenly and stubbornly, because he decided to ignore his symptoms. This is so clearly wonderfully told, I have to cite:


"You can't know that. You keep saying that our house isn't medical, that it could be wrong. But it could be right, Bobby. Not just about the hep, but about the cirrhosis, about the liver cancer even. What if our house is right?"


I so appreciate when an author avoids infodump and puts all the information in the action and the dialogue, plus, it's such a nice worldbuilding about the house which obviously is an A.I. trying itself in a diagnosis, for what it is not specialized for.


Bobby wants to be buried (=composted) in his garden, an important last wish and Al stumbles upon a seemingly very small obstacle on his way to fulfill the wish of his life partner. 


Great. Just great.


His twitter seems to be dead, Facebook here


author's website

Kelsea Yu: A scarcity of sharks

Sharks ahave been in the world for a really long time. Like since 400 Million years. But humans are not good for sharks, we have killed them for their fins and made soup out of them.


In the world of the story, white sharks are so scarce, one is not even sure if they already died out. A small team has constructed Bruce (quite an obvious name for a shark), a machine which looks and acts like a shark, but is conducted by a human being, that is inside the shark-machine.

Via the machine, which also has a camera to collect footage, the team tries to find other white sharks.


Ally, the perspective figure (first person perspective) is inside Bruce and one day, she meets real-life-shark. Female. Pregnant. But it gets caught before her eye. 

Ally tries everything, which underlines the main conflict of this story:


"We assume human life is  more valuable than any other kind. But is that still true when there's eight billion of us and only a smattering of them?"


An interesting question and a convincing story.


author's twtitter: @anovelescape

author's website


I don't know about you, but for me, five great stories are already worth my money and my time. Furthermore, there's more, I just am in the habit of usually only reviewing my highlights. 


As I have already consumed Reckoning 6, I am likely to buy and read the next issue as well.