Review of The Ansible Stories 1-3, by Stant Litore

Earlier today, this cool info-sheet on exploring positive portrayals of Islam in sci-fi found its way into my inbox from Stant Litore. It’s just the sort of thing guaranteed to get my attention on any normal day, but given that today the people of my city have been out marching in protest of the presidents immigration ban, I think it’s especially timely too. I imagine that wasn’t accidental.

I downloaded the free anthology and Stant’s three free short stories about Islamic space travelers. The latter of which is what I’ll review here.

Wow, color me impressed. All three of these stories were powerful and wonderfully written, despite not one of them being 30 pages long (17, 17 & 29). Despite being short, each felt complete and satisfying, which is rarely a comment I make about short stories. In fact, not feeling complete is my most common criticism of shorts.

They also each managed a different emotional wallop, putting the characters in the same circumstances, but in very different situations. The first, my favorite was fearful and desperate. It almost felt like sci-fi/horror. The second was sad and contemplative and the third started contentedly but ended back in horror/sci-fi land, with a certain pragmatic acceptance of the situation. I thought it was cool, too, the way it curved back to intersect with the first.

I appreciated the way gender was flexible, given the means of space travel. I also loved the way Islam and the countries of origin played into the stories, important to the characters but not at all encroaching on the plot. All in all, well worth reading but don’t go in expecting happy endings.

Edit: Thank you, Naz, for the reminder about the #ReadDiverse2017 word counts. I had admittedly forgotten; read it in the beginning and forgotten since then. I prompted me to think a little more deeply about this review.

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