Today, I’m going to something a bit different. Today I present not a new review of E. Catherine Tobler’s work, but bits and pieces of reviews from Charles Payseur, over at Quick Sip Reviews. This will be a link-laden buffet which will hopefully wet your appetite for the mentioned stories and also provide you a handy page with lots of links to Tobler stories to help ya finish out the festival.
With that, read on, dear reader. Read on, and celebrate OcTOBLERfest with me as it begins to draw to a close.
“Ebb Stung by the Flow” ~ E. Catherine Tobler
Published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, July 2016
This is probably the most surreal of these Circus stories that I’ve read but it’s also quite beautiful and comes together as the main character navigates the disaster and has to chose whether to keep going or not. Has to choose to get back on the tracks or set out in new directions. It’s about freedom and about creation for someone who seems to me to feel somewhat limited by the knowledge that whatever they create will be cut….
…It’s a strange read but a compelling one, something of a departure from what I’ve read of the series but also an affirmation of it. That the ride isn’t over. That the circus isn’t done. That the train is still running and even though it will end eventually, for now it remains. A fascinating read! ~QSR (Full Review Here)
“Cloud Dweller” ~ E. Catherine Tobler
Published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, May 2016
Here we have the story of Vasily, wire walker and sky walker, a man with a past but who refuses to look back at it, who knows that who looks down is often doomed to fall. I love how his story is one of loss, one of movement, but that he’s not really defined solely by his past. Instead he is defined by his certainty, by the way he puts one foot in front of the other, sure of the wire under his feet, even when others cannot see it, even when it seems that he must fall…
…It’s a fun story and one that mixes a traditional conflict (the disappearances at the hotel and the cause of it) and something more ethereal, more personal (Vasily’s confrontation with his past, with himself). And it works. For me it works, leaving me with a feeling of loss but not sadness, that something is ending but something else is beginning, no less magical or wondrous. ~QSR (Full Review Here)
“The Abduction of Europa” ~ E. Catherine Tobler
Published in Clarkesworld Magazine, January 2016
This is a rather strange, rather surreal story of life on Europa. Human life, yes, as three people stranded on the ice find themselves faced with…something else. But also that something else, the life that has emerged deep under the waters and the life that has also been stranded there, longer than human memory…
…That idea that warmth grows out of contact echoes in the story, returns again and again, the need for humans to stand together and the possibility that we are not alone, are not alone and will find new ways of exploring by cooperation. It’s a story that, for me, blends and blurs madness and reality, but at its core seems to be about the quest for discovery and an end to loneliness, layered with a story of loss of control and violent change. It’s a complex story, and a quite good one. ~QSR (Full Review Here)
“Somewhere I Have Never Traveled (Third Sound Remix)” ~ E. Catherine Tobler
Published in Clarkesworld Magazine, June 2015
“In the still of the night, there is the voice.
Am I awake?
It is not a voice as I know voices; it doesn’t speak in words, but in vibrations, audio frequencies penetrating the space which enfolds it (the siren, the woman trapped). It is the sound of a remembered heartbeat, muffled and moving through fluid, muscle, bone. There, it finds a new home, vibrates within this confine, and wakes me”
Here is a rather lyric and slightly surreal story of a woman working on a station orbiting Jupiter that collects liquid helium to be shipped back to Earth. Only something in the helium, in the storms of Jupiter, are calling out to her, to Vasquez. Something that is awake and just now finding its way, something curious and that sees humans as something to explore. ~QSR (Full Review Here)
“Splitskin” ~ E. Catherine Tobler
Published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, April 2015
Reprinted in Transcendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction
A story of two lovers in western America during the Gold Rush, this one is a bit surreal, a bit magical, and a mix of tragedy and freedom. The main character has two spirits, one male and one female, and in that dual nature has a certain power. Their lover, another with a complex spirit, lives with them and together they wait for a time when they can travel up the mountain to free their mothers, who were taken by Raven…
…the message being that to be free you have to risk splitting yourself open, you have to bare yourself, take the risk. It’s an interesting story and a vivid one. I really liked the characters, the action. It’s a story that’s well worth checking out. ~QSR (Full Review Here)
Annnnd that’s all for today. Be sure to check out Quick Sip Reviews, an excellent source for deep and thoughtful reviews of the speculative short fiction world. If you’ve got a few extra bucks a month, you can also support Charles via his Patreon.
Stay tuned this Friday for the start of my FINAL OcTOBLERfest giveaway. IT’S GONNA BE SO HYPE.