Power Armor: A Love Story by David Barr Kirtley

When I was a wee lass, I had a bit of an unhealthy preoccupation with the game Mech Warrior 2. This interest in giant machinery grew naturally into a pre-teen obsession with Gundam Wing and then later The Big O. I don’t think anyone was surprised by my fangirl squealing during Pacific Rim. In short, I love battle mecha. What is strange though, and even I admit this, is that it took me a really long time to come around to power armor and battle suits. The amount of resistance I threw up for the Iron Man movies was rather uncharacteristic. I continue to find myself hesitant to accept the smaller, precursors to my beloved giant warbots.

My reticence is waning, though. In large part due to stories like David Barr Kirtley’s Power Armor: A Love Story, which is about  time traveling renegade Anthony Blair, who never-ever-ever takes off his power armor. As you could probably assume from the title, there is also a woman. A woman who does not want Anthony Blair in his power armor for a variety of reasons, including the desire to be close to the man in the iron suit. But also to maybe kill him. Continue reading…

Our Relationship with Thieves by Kati Hendrey

There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t have a childhood secret. That’s my theory, anyway. As we grow older, these secrets we keep sometimes become more of a big deal, or sometimes less. But I’m pretty certain everyone has one, and they are never spoken of. I have one, though I’ll never tell.

Kati Hendrey’s Our Relationship with Thieves has that sort of mystical quality of childhood secrets and confessions. In this case, it is the confession of now-grown preteen girl to a dead man, her neighbor. And it is through this confession we learn the secrets of Martin (the dead neighbor), and the demons with which he battled. The unfolding of these stories has a sort of elegance to it. Continue reading…

Tearjerker by Steve Berman

[dropca[]T[/dropca[]he wonderful things about anthologies is you never know when you’re going to stumble upon something wonderful. The odd thing is, I never intended to pick up Paper Cities in the first place. It just sort of fell off the shelf at my local library and, due to the weird location on it, I wasn’t sure where to reshelve it. Which is kind of peculiar since I used to work in a library. But basically I decided it was just easier to check it out rather than figure out where to drop it for the shelf clerk.

Flipping through the book, I happened to land on Steve Berman’s Tearjerker, a wonderfully dark tale of addiction and ruin. In a city scarred and quarantined after a cataclysmic event that granted special powers to only some of the inhabitants, young Gail finds herself for some old sisters who peddle in dependancy. Their big thing is the addictive tears of a little girl named Brennan. Even Gail can’t keep herself from lapping at the sad child’s cheeks. Continue reading…