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Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet – No. 33 – July 2015
Edited by Michael J. DeLuca
Cover Artist: Kevin Huizenga
Review by Sam Tomaino
Small Beer Press Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1544-7782
Date: 28 July 2015

Links: Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet #33, guest edited by Michael J. DeLuca, is here with stories by Carmen Maria Machado, Alena McNamara, Gisele Leeb, Michelle Vider, Deborah Walker, D.K. McCutchen, Sofia Samatar, M.E. Garber and Eric Gregory.

Here is the latest issue of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet and you know the drill by now: read it slowly. This is issue #33, guest edited by Michael J. DeLuca who gives us nine original stories, but I think this issues has a little less of the charm that I usually find in LCRW.

The issue begins with "I Bury Myself" by Carmen Maria Machado -+- Our narrator has one last fling and lays herself down to die. This is achieved quickly and she describes the "five stages of decay": fresh, bloat, active, advanced, and dry. All to nurture a tree. A good start to this issue.

"Starling Road" by Alena McNamara -+- Nisimia and Starling find themselves in the middle of a conflict between the Emperor and the people of the mountain. In the time since Starling arrived to stay with them, they have become lovers. Starling has powers that the Emperor covets so she must hide to protect the people of the mountain. She finds a way to stop the Emperor for a while and to be together with Nisimia. Nicely crafted fantasy.

"Ape Songs" by Gisele Leeb -+- In a future, ruined Earth, an artificial created Ape of the Earth is brought out to crowds of people for a special ceremony. He is brought to a small scraggly piece of ground called Peace of Earth where he sings, bringing out of the ground a girl who was put there as a seed. We get the story from both of their viewpoints. The ceremony does not end well. Well-written but a downer.

"For Me, Seek the Sun" by Michelle Vider -+- A series of e-messages, so I guess you would call it epistolary, in which one of the correspondents discusses problems with constipation and the other gives some counsel. Amusing.

"Medea" by Deborah Walker -+- Two guys in a bar discuss whether the Earth loves us (Gai) or hates us (Medea). The Medea argument, though, seems to be more about the damage that humans are doing to the Earth rather than the other way around.

"Jellyfish Dreaming" by D.K. McCutchen -+- A future in which the world has been flooded and most food sources wiped out. Humanity is living on types of jellyfish. Jack is an enigmatic figure who is older than he looks and can become more feminine when Jae. Two university researchers are investigating the appearance of what seems to be young hermaphrodites as a way of saving the human race. Strange story but does not quite come together.

"Request for an Extension on the Clarity" by Sofia Samatar -+- Our narrator and two cats are posted to a space station orbiting Earth. She is requesting an extension of her contract for 20 years. She has already had two-year and ten-year extensions. She describes her life growing up on Earth and visiting the Africa of her ancestors, specifically Mali, where the Dogon claim they were visited by aliens. She does not seem to have liked her life on Earth and has alienated everyone, even her family. She might as well stay up there. This is all very well told in just four pages.

"Putting Down Roots" by M.E. Garber -+- Anni had had prenatal neural treatments and the adaptive photosynthesis that is supposed to power her neural link-up. It is failing. She is becoming more plant-like and will soon not be able to walk. This process is described in a series of e-messages to a friend, Buvana. Another epistolary tale but better than the Vider story. This one has real heart and is one of the best in the issue.

"The March Wind" by Eric Gregory -+- Something had happened to certain towns. They have become occluded. Their boundaries can't be nailed down. Only natives can find their way in or out. You could only walk in at night. Machines no longer worked. The names of the towns are forgotten and no documentation of the names exists. Shanna and Caroline work at a college which pays poorly. Shanna is actually tenured and needs to stay because her mother still lives in their occluded hometown. Caroline would like to leave. Shanna takes Caroline to her hometown to meet her mother and, maybe, get her to leave. Mother is not willing to do that. How can these conflicts be resolved? Good story. Nice exploration of the relationships between Shanna and the two women in her life.

No matter who is editing it, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet is a magazine you should be subscribing to! (Also available as ebook.)

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