Saturday, January 2, 2016

Smooth Stones and Empty Bones, by Bennett North

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(Horror) Helena's mom's a witch, their small town is blaming them for a missing boy, she and her girlfriend have to stay in the closet, and to top it off, there are chicken skeletons walking around. (4,824 words; Time: 16m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Recommended

"Smooth Stones and Empty Bones," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 01-02|16, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: We got the clue that Helena was dead when she said her mom wouldn't want to put another mother through the pain of losing a child, but it's still a shock when we learn the truth. Very effective. Very little in this story is wasted; almost everything eventually relates to something else.

Con: We never do find out where the stones came from. It seems odd that the supply is finite. There's no explanation of how they handled Javi walking around undead either.

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10 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. That story was amazing! I don't know what else to say. This author should keep 'em coming! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. I suspect the origin of the stones will come up in another story. I hope so anyway! As to the undead Javi, I don't think he would have been when he wasn't near to the stones.

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    Replies
    1. Is it part of a longer series (or larger world) by the same author then?

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  3. It sounds like the mother created the stones, but there's some limit to her power. Maybe the stones store her own life force?

    At the end, Helena sees on the local news that searchers have found the boy's body. Either the stone stopped working very quickly or Mariposa realized she should let go and took it away.

    I'll be looking out for more from this author! Very impressive that it's her first publication.

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    Replies
    1. If you look at the gray bar right above the comments section, you'll see the labels for the post. They include the year, the author, the magazine, the rating, etc. If you click on the label "Bennett North," you'll get a list of all the stories RSR has reviewed by this author. (Sadly, only this one.)

      According to ISFDB this is the only story by that author.

      If you look a bit further up the page, right above the Mini-Review, there's a link to the Bennett North web site, which turns out to be an up-to-date blog.

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    2. Thanks, Greg! I'd seen the blog link, but hadn't really paid attention to the post labels. Very helpful!

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    3. You can even combine labels with a + sign. So http://www.rocketstackrank.com/search/label/2016+Novella will get you all the novellas we've reviewed in 2016.

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    4. Cool. I could see that coming in handy too.

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  4. Now online here:

    http://www.glittership.com/2018/02/24/episode-50-smooth-stones-and-empty-bones-by-bennett-north/

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