Just two reviews this week:

Fiction

Favors from Hell written by Zachary T. Owen, read by Misty Dawn (Pseudopod)

November 2015 (originally January 2015); 40 minutes. I tweeted about this piece earlier this week, but I wanted to write a more in-depth review as well. I can only really use the word “horrifying” to describe “Favors from Hell,” and I mean that in so many senses of the word. The child sexual abuse is horrifying, and so is the adults’ nonresponse, the too-real depictions of PTSD and coping after trauma, and the supernatural element itself. Yet despite all the terror, despite all the past and recurring trauma, the narrator continues to be brave—she fights to survive, both for her sake and for her brother’s sake.

I’m reminded again of what Kat said about horror and why she reads it: because seeing people survive, seeing women survive, reminds her that she too can pull out of her darkest moments. “Favors from Hell” may be fiction, but it tells such an important narrative of survival, and being a survivor. The ending was beautiful and nearly brought me to tears. Definitely a difficult piece to listen to, but at the same time I felt such immense relief at the end.

They’re Made Out of Meat by Terry Bisson

April 1991; 800 words. A fun piece of dialogue-only flash fiction. What if we haven’t been contacted by aliens because they find our very forms unfathomable and against the principles of all other life in the universe? Bisson subverts our assumptions about sentient life and creates a rich world in such a tiny space.