Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CSFF Blog Tour: Residential Aliens Day Two

As promised, here are my comments on a few more of the many stories at Residential Aliens. Editor Lyn Perry assembles an eclectic mix so there's probably something for everyone, and if you're not in the mood for fiction, Perry mixes in interviews with artists and writers as well as guest columns. Check out the editor's introductions to each issue to find the interviews and for a couple examples of nonfiction, check out John Ottinger III's article "Christian Fantasy: More than Tolkien and Lewis" and R. L. Copple's editorial "Fantasy and Christianity."

"Shadowed," by James T. Coon

Here's something you don't see very often, hard-boiled fantasy. That's right. Tolkien meets Chandler. "Shadowed" is a flash story with a 1930s feel: radios with tubes that have to warm up, switchboard operators, and rusty revolvers, but it's populated with elves, orcs, humans, and various combinations. The action takes place in an Irish bar--O’Smalley’s--and the alley behind it. Brick Munson is a half-orc private investigator who has spent a long day shadowing an insurance scammer. After downing a few ales and listening to some hockey on the radio, he's ready to go home for some rest, but an intoxicated elf armed with a rusty revolver threatens him in the alley behind the bar. The elf is shaking and blubbering about his wife. Munson disarms the elf in a flash and sends him reeling into some garbage cans. You might expect Munson to finish off the elf or haul him to the police station, but Munson does something quite unexpected after questioning the elf. Coon creates a vivid picture of this somewhat familiar world made strange by its unusual inhabitants.

"A Stretch of Time," by Grace Bridges

Everyone can relate to this story. A young Maori mother with too much to do doesn't have time to do what she wants to do, reading and telling stories. She tells her grandmother that times have changed since the creator gave us the twenty-four hour day. Her grandmother gives her a "spiritual gift of time." She thinks her grandmother is playing games with her, but after completing hours of housework, she finds only minutes have passed and the coffee she and her grandmother were sharing is still hot. As she relates her secret to her grandson, she reflects: "This was the beauty of the gift: nigh unlimited time to ponder. Yes, there were many things to do, and I did them all. But this unhurried pace of life had made me impervious to stress and a magnet for those who were not." It appears the protagonist has sipped from the cup of eternity.

"Cries from a Grave," by Janett L. Grady

Grady's "Cries from a Grave" is labeled science fiction but I found it closer to horror. Sara, the protagonist, is dead, floating in space without any air for eighteen hours. Although inanimate, she is still conscious and able to feel pain. What she fears most is burial on Earth where the worms will devour her. Her husband had promised to "bury" her in space but goes back on his word, picking the cheapest box available. Sara seethes with futile anger and damns him to hell in her mind. Eventually, she hears dirt hitting the lid of her coffin. The worms will be coming she thinks, but what is that stench? What happens when you go to your grave with your heart filled with hate? Sara is about to learn. Grady takes a subject that sounds preachy in summary but gives it a corporeal sense of urgency and reality.

To learn more about editor Lyn Perry, visit his blogs at


To learn what the other CSFF bloggers are saying, follow the links below:

Noah Arsenault
Brandon Barr
Thomas Clayton Booher
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
Carol Bruce Collett
D. G. D. Davidson
Dean Hardy
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart

Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Lyn Perry
Sarah Sawyer
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler


  1. This is a great approach, Jeff -- giving visitors a snippet of the stories they might want to read.


  2. Jeff, I appreciate your short story reviews. I swing by here every now and then to catch up on what you are reading. Good job and thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts about some of ResAliens' fiction! Best, Lyn

  3. Hey, Jeff! Thanks for the review. Much appreciated :)