REVIEW: “Seven” by Sarah Krenicki

SFF Reviews

Review of Sarah Krenicki, “Seven”, Syntax and Salt 4, 2017: Read Online. Reviewed by Tiffany Crystal.

I cannot express just how much I love this story. It has magic, and children, and growing up, and fireflies, and magic. Sarah Krenicki takes us for a short trip into a world where children gain magic on their seventh birthday, and lose it the day after they turn eight. It’s a rite of passage all kids go through to become “big kids.”

All kids except for little Katy. She turns seven, gets her magic…and never loses it, even when she turns eight, then ten and twelve. In this, Katy is almost a Peter Pan figure, with her older sister (or so I assume) playing the part of Hook. Or perhaps it would be better to say that Katy is Peter, her magic is Wendy, and her sister is the jealous…

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Review of “One Last Time”

Lorena Torres Loaiza will break your heart with this story from Syntax and Salt, but you’ll love it, anyway.

Centered around a man who just lost his wife, “One Last Time” is…well, okay, it’s an old concept. Wife dies. Husband doesn’t want to let her go, so he uses a time machine to go back and – no, he doesn’t prevent her death, it’s not that old concept. No, he just goes back to when he first met her. He sits right next to his old teenage self, watches her come sauntering up. Sees himself see her for the first time.

And sees himself. Over and over again.

Confused? Go read it. Trust me, you’ll see what I mean, and I really don’t think you’ll regret it. My only complaint is that it ended…and that it set off the nerd side of me that adores The Chaos Theory. Replacing that many people has to have some sort of effect on the world…

The things we realize…

It’s interesting how a random thought can turn into a realization about your entire childhood. A couple weeks ago, someone on Facebook posted about how they liked horseradish, and it got me thinking about my grandfather.

In the entire time that I knew him, and I’ll grant you, it wasn’t very long, but in that time, he never asked me to bring him anything. He would ask my cousins, or my aunts and uncles, but never me, and I think I finally figured out why.

To borrow the good ol’ sports analogy, I was born with two strikes against me. Let me explain…

First, my mother.

My mother is easily the most kind hearted person I know. Sometime early in my parent’s relationship, my mom was helping make sandwiches for lunch. My grandfather asked for horseradish on his. Mom, never having horseradish before, proceeded to slather it on to the bread like it was mayonnaise, and gave it to him. Grandpa took one bite, and spat it back out, yelling, “You trying to kill me, woman?!”

That was strike one.

Then, my sister.

My brother and sister are both 9+ years older than I am, and grew up when my family was especially church orientated. When I say “church orientated”, I mean, my father was a deacon, and my mother was a Sunday School teacher. So it was church every Wednesday, twice on Sunday, and every single day during Revival. This might not seem relevant, but bear with me.

Now, my grandfather liked to drink beer. He also liked to sit in his comfy chair, which left him with a problem: how to get a nice cold beer from the fridge…without getting out of his comfy chair. His solution was to ask my sister to bring him a beer.

Remember the thing about the church? Here is where it comes into play, because, you see, the church taught two major things: respecting your elders…and alcohol is bad. So, grandpa’s solution…became my sister’s problem. Alcohol was bad, but so was refusing to do what he asked her to. Fortunately, my sister has always been smart and came up with a solution to grandpa’s “solution.” She brought him a beer from the fridge, alright. But first, she gave it a good shake.

He made it through the unexpected beer shower the first time. And the second. And maybe even the third, I don’t remember how many times she did this to him before his cogs started turning, but eventually, he stopped asking her, and turned to my brother instead.

I love my sister, let me just get that out of the way now. She is the usually the sweetest little thing. However, she has her moments. And when grandpa asked our brother to bring him a beer? Well, she had a moment. She got our brother, three years younger than her, in on Operation Respect Our Elders/Beer is Bad. It eventually got to the point where grandpa would look around, realize that they were the only two there…and get up out of his chair to go get his beer, rather than risk another shower.

That was strike two.

By the time I came around, grandpa decided it was better to change sports than to worry about any curve balls I might’ve thrown him, and – just to be safe – he also wrote my name on all of the benches…with permanent marker. Now that I’ve had time to think about it, of course, I’m surprised he didn’t take a knife and carve my name into the wood.

At any rate, it’s a childhood mystery solved.

Review of “Disprosopus”

Today’s review will be of Christina Dalcher’s “Disprosopus.”

This short story from Syntax and Salt was a bit more to my liking than The Alabaster Man was, but not by much. It was interesting, I will give it that, and the writing wasn’t bad. I kinda expected what I think was supposed to be the “twist” (I imagine it helped that I looked up the meaning of the title first) and I have to give all kinds of credit to the father in the story for coming up with the creative revenge of his daughter’s death, but I have so many questions that need to be answered.

Naflah says her job is to distract the sheikh while Aneesa does her work, and it is implied that Aneesa bites off…um…*cough* something. But how does a man not notice that? Even with a good distraction, they’re gonna feel it. Unless she had poison in her teeth, and all she had to do was get a good nip in, but that isn’t what is implied at all. Also, how does she hold him down so he doesn’t struggle against the bite? I mean, again, there is only so much distraction can do.

If you can suspend your belief past those little problems, however, it’s not a bad little story. I might be willing to give the author another look, at least.

“The Alabaster Man”

Have you ever wanted to like a story so much that it was almost painful when you couldn’t? I recently joined a group of reviewers, and while looking through the magazine I would be reviewing, I kindasortamaybe fell in love with it. Most of the stories are amazing, and are a genuine joy to read, so I decided to go all the way back to the beginning of the issues and start reading there.

Boy, am I glad I didn’t do that at the beginning. The first work, a short story titled “The Alabaster Man” by Jennifer Todhunter is…well, it’s okay. I liked the idea. It was actually similar to something a friend of mine had written before, but I just couldn’t enjoy Jennifer’s take on it. It didn’t strike my fancy, I guess you could say. Maybe it was all the “and he was like”, “and I was like” but I found it almost annoying to read. It definitely was not a story I will be reading again.

Feel free to check it out yourselves here. These things are always a matter of taste. Maybe your literary palate will enjoy it more than mine did.

Asking for help is a GOOD thing.

I am seriously using EVERY SINGLE TAG I use for this, because this is important. A cry for help should not EVER be ignored, and the person ASKING for help should never be made to feel like they are somehow LESS for NEEDING that help.

If you are shot, you go to a doctor. If you break an arm or a leg, you go to the doctor. You don’t feel ashamed for needing help THEN, why should you when the pain is INSIDE you? When it is a literally LIFE THREATENING injury/illness? And yes, people, it IS life threatening. Or do you think they were just playing with the noose around their neck? Or the bullet hole in their head? Or maybe the slit wrists and the mountain of fucking pills in their stomach.


Do you know WHY so many people don’t get the help they need? Because there are dickholes out there who are mocking them. Who dismiss the cries for help as a “phase” until the person finally gets to the point where they think “why bother?”

And then those same assholes have the nerve to say “I don’t understand…what happened?”

YOU happened, asshole. You and the rest of society who have pushed them down one too many times, without even a backwards glance, much less a helping hand to get them back on their feet.

Their blood is on YOUR hands. And don’t you EVER fucking forget it.


**Note: To those of you who actually reach out to those who need help, this is NOT directed at you. And please, never change that part of you. We need more people like you.**

First off… no one panic, I’m not suicidal. Yes, I get down and feel like wtf is the point at times. I hate having to work when I know life is short and I’m not happy at my job and I keep thinking.. no one cares. If I died tomorrow, there’d be some poor schmuck […]

via Suicide… 4 words: Listen, I need help! — Kawanee’s Korner