Issue 26 of LCRW is filled with a variety of amazing short stories. But this litzine isn’t only made up of fiction. “Reasoning about the Body,” an essay on folk biology by Chiang, is an excellent criticism of how common tropes in speculative writing — such as the human mind being like a computer — contradict science fiction’s objective to confront common assumptions and other folk biology. Lindsay Vella’s poetry, while somewhat difficult, is also mysterious and attention grabbing.
However, it’s definitely the vast variety of short fiction that had me turning page after page. “The Cruel Ship’s Captain” by Welles and Raines is fantastical and dark as it tells the tale of a struggling woman captured by pirates, sailing upon a strangely magical ocean. Houston’s “Elite Institute for the Study of Arc Welders’ Flash Fever” is a sad, gripping story of an arc welder seeing his fellow welder and unrequited love deteriorate in front of him because of the harsh working conditions before being taken away by cold, heartless people of medicine and technology to be further experimented upon. Finally, I’ll mention Melican’s fascinating “Absence of Water,” a historical fiction tale about the Hunley, the first submarine that succeeded in sinking an enemy vessel before all hands were lost at sea.
Even though these are just a few of the stories included in this zine, they all have their own fine qualities that make them worth reading. (Terry Harjanto)
Litzine, #26, Small Beer Press, smallbeerpress.com/lcrw