Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Pampuro, Wish List and Other Stories (2022)

Amanda Pampuro, Wish List and Other Stories. Alien Buddha Press, 2022. Pp. 107. ISBN 979-8-78138-337-5. $10.44.

Reviewed by Jason Kahler

At least one lifetime ago, I took a graduate class covering rhetoric and technology. It was a great class with a great professor and classmates whose company I enjoyed. One evening we were discussing the ability of technology to track us, and I mentioned my frequent customer fob for the gas station I frequented. I hadn’t thought of it before, I said, but a so-inclined Speedway marketing manager would have been able to figure out an awful lot about me based on what I bought at each station I visited. About where I lived. About where I visited. How many kids I had and their approximate ages (because who in their right mind buys four slushies at one time?). What days I attended class. The approximate day the doctor told me to stop drinking slushies. A general idea of what kind of car I drove. It was a scary reminder of all the information I happily turned over just to earn a free slushie after every fifth purchase.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Powell, The Shadow (2021)

Sharon Powell, The Shadow. Austin Macauley Publishers, 2021. Pp. 265. ISBN 978-1-6475-0760-2. $15.95.

Reviewed by Don Riggs

Sharon Powell’s novel The Shadow is idiosyncratic. That it is in the tradition of Frankenstein literature is evident from the name of the central character, Victor Frankenstein. This Frankenstein is a doctor who dissects corpses, but upon finding a young man who has been buried by an avalanche and cryonically preserved, he keeps the young man in the best cold storage possible in early 19th-century central Europe. In overseeing his living but unconscious body, the doctor is surprised by a spiritual visitation: the spirit of the frozen young man appears above the gurney and addresses him, involving the doctor in a plot to rescue a group of children who are “cared for” by one of the most respected men of the village, but who, according to the spirit, has possession of this group of orphans and, in a Dickensian twist, is working them to death. Simon, the spirit, and the doctor team up to locate the orphans to free them, and ultimately bring their tormentor to justice.

Monday, April 04, 2022

Cotton Xenomorph (Jan–Mar 2022)

Cotton Xenomorph: No Creeps, ed. Chloe N. Clark, Teo Mungaray & Hannah Cohen. Jan–March 2022. Online at

Reviewed by Jason Kahler

One of the advantages of an online literary journal is its accessibility. Assuming some level of stability, all the issues are there and easy to open. All the gleaming nuggets waiting to be unearthed. For a reviewer, however, that can be daunting. There’s just no way I could read the entirety of everything the excellent online journal Cotton Xenomorph has to offer, at least not in time to file an already overdue review. The sampling I did read, however, will motivate me to read the rest once this review is on its way to our editor.