Residential Aliens. My reviews hardly do them justice.
"Sharp Stick," by Walter G. Esselman
"Sharp Stick" is a fun romp about a boy and a dragon on a hunting expedition, hunting for giant bugs in underground caves. The boy, Gideon, is a bit young to go hunting on his own but he wants to prove himself after suffering ridicule on the playground. The young dragon Pavataro also has a problem with ridicule. He's afraid to fly and only Gideon knows his secret. The story follows Gideon and Pavataro into the caves where they meet a giant, armored bug and work together to kill it. The struggle forges a deeper bond of friendship between boy and dragon. Aside from the introduction of some background material in the first few paragraphs that could have been handled better, Esselman's narration is smooth and he flavors the story with understated humor.
"The Kitterson Ranch Incident," by Brandon Barr
"The Kitterson Ranch Incident" takes a humorous look at community and minding your own business. Every year the search for Bigfoot brings a hoard of outsiders to town. The residents don't like the visitors tromping all over their property. The narrator says "We’d be watching one another’s backs real close until the week long search ended. There wasn’t a one of us who didn’t have a past he was hiding from." While the narrator is taking a quiet break at Earl’s Bar, Red Ferguson enters with one of the Bigfoot hunters who claims to have caught one of the creatures on film. The patrons at the bar gather around to hear his story. One patron slips out unbeknown to the stranger. The locals suggest that the stranger might have been trespassing on the Kitterson Ranch when he filmed Bigfoot, and then Mr. Kitterson arrives.
"The Sorcerer's Wife," by Erin M. Kinch
Brand, an aged sorcerer, is dying, confined to his bed to rest his aching joints, dependent on his beloved wife Amira. He appears destined for a peaceful death until an old friend pays him a visit. Viola appears as young as ever. They once practiced sorcery together before Brand left to marry Amira. Viola tempts him with a ring that would restore his powers and bring him back into the fold. Brand and Viola debate the merits and demerits of their past life together and what a future life might entail. Brand insists that the love he shares with Amira is greater than anything sorcery could offer, but the ring exercises a powerful attraction, and Viola is persistent. Through effective dialog and interior monologue, Kinch dramatizes Brand's choice between a mortal life with Amira and one of sorcery with Viola.
To learn more about editor Lyn Perry, visit his blogs at http://residentialaliens.blogspot.com/
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