…manages to cram a lot in this relatively short piece. While the science fiction aspects and ramifications might appeal to genre readers, what drew me to this story is how Bradford attaches a human component to the narrative and everything else grows out of that. Her protagonist is not only sympathetic but her unique situation could only have been pulled off in the medium of prose. For example, if this were a comic or a TV episode, part of the tension would have been tipped off too early, and a pivotal scene would have lost much of its momentum. But as it is, the chronology is just right, and Bradford crafts a story with emotional resonance. Charles Tan — Bibliophile Stalker
A story of dealing with loss, of holding on, and of letting go. The execution is superb, even if the premise feels somewhat familiar (I won’t reveal it here, except to say that this story too is about the undead, although to call it a zombie story would hardly be accurate.) At its core is a parent-child relationship, which as you will see becomes a recurring theme in this issue. Tom Crosshill
K. Tempest Bradford gives us what, I think, is the best story in the issue with “Elan Vital”. … This is one you won’t forget soon. SFRevu
There are also a few delightfully snarky stories which deconstruct, and in some cases satirize outright, the idea of a civilization made up of civilizations, and these are among the book’s standout stories. … K. Tempest Bradford’s “Different Day” imagines the Earth being contacted by not just one, but three different alien races within the same interstellar group, each with its own agenda. io9
…breezily snarky offering… [is] a reaction to the common premises that alien worlds have one culture/one global government and that, invariably, they “come to America first.” She cleverly posits rival alien tribes, just as mutually hostile as our contemporary nations, visiting and negotiating with other parts of the world… SFScope
…the most frank treatment of the “alien civilizations are likely not homogenous” I’ve seen or read… Tor.com
One of the shortest stories of the anthology and as the editor puts it in the foreword, something of an anti-science fiction story. In just over two pages, Bradford takes a shot at a number of common but fairly illogical themes in science fiction (movies and television in particular). Why do aliens always end up in the US for instance? Why are they so often seen as not only technologically but also morally superior? …the way Adams slips it in here forces the reader to consider another perspective on the anthology as a whole. BSCReview
If you want to posit a distinction between a fiction and a story, this one is a fiction. The events of the story, or the several stories, that lie in the background of this scene must be inferred by the reader. Nor is it clear even to the participants just how the ghosts are invoked, or what sort of presence they have there. None of this really matters in this piece, where the point is the presence of the observers and the different reason that each of them have for coming to confront their ghosts, or not.
Internet Review of Science Fiction
K. Tempest Bradford’s ‘Until Forgiveness Comes’ was intriguing. Most simplistically, it’s a 9/11-derived story — well enough done, about a yearly ceremony remembering a terrorist attack. But as an SF reader I found myself far more intrigued by the tantalizing hints of a cool alternate world in the background — with, perhaps, Ancient Egyptian culture having survived in some form, leading to a radically altered Jesus-figure, and a much more different Western Europe. The story is only two thousand words long, and that sketched background isn’t at all the point — but I confess it’s what gripped me.
Rich Horton, Locus
Perhaps I’m a little weird in that the facts of the story—a terrorist attack and the discourse over how it should be remembered—pale in comparison to my interest in the form of the story. Bradford has an excellent grasp of the rhythm of an NPR segment (down to the reporter, with a name suspiciously and whimsically similar to the “musical” Sylvia Poggioli), to the point where I could easily hear the ever-present, but rarely informative ambient sound that would accompany the piece. Made me tear up at work, which makes it memorable.
Other Mentions: Willow Fagan, The Fix
“Black Feather”, by K. Tempest Bradford (and have you ever heard such a beautiful author’s name?) is a fascinating story about ravens, fairy tales, dreams, and modern/rural America. Normally I roll my eyes at extended dream sequences in stories, but the clever narrative of this particular tale dips you in and out of “dream” and “real life” like an elegant dance. It incorporates elements of various fairy tales and particularly hints at and around various versions of “The Seven Swans”, but is grounded very much in a realistic world, with a troubled, compelling central character.
…perfectly interstitial… was it nonfiction? was it a re-imagined fairytale? was it a dream story? was it magical realism? …the story is a river: it fetches you in with intriguing shallows, soft eddies of water, refracting light as it swirls over half-obscured and winking stones. And then, once you’ve waded out so far, a strong current seizes you and pulls you under into terror and wonder and understanding.
Phoenix Girl Walking
The story …is in many ways a spirit journey, Brenna both trying to realize her dream of flying (and thus forgetting her fear of heights and falling), and also to bring back the brother(s) she’s lost. … This could be fantasy, it could be magical realism, or it could just be literary fiction. Frankly, it’s all of the three, and yet none too. Interpretation doesn’t matter in a story like this, what matters is the resolution of the ending, the realization of the personal dream, and the ability to overcome fears.
I tended to enjoy most the stories that leaned closer to the fantastical. [...] “Black Feather” [plays] excellently with fairytale bits and pieces and the idea of past lives.
Alankria – Review: Interfictions & Text:UR
I also wish that every collection, like this one, included a paragraph or two at the end by the author providing insight into the story itself. “Black Feather” by K. Tempest Bradford was rather affecting on its own but when Bradford added that she feels she is an interstitial person (not fitting in any one gender or world) it really gave me pause.
While each of the ten sections has multiple entries, they all have their stand-out stories. … The final section, “Thou Shalt Not Covet,” contains “The Seventh Reflection” by K. Tempest Bradford, a story that could very well have been taken from the pages of an episode of The Twilight Zone
Everyone knows it; mothers and their children, however much they might resist, eventually separate to go their own way. Animals, at least from what I’ve seen on the Discovery Channel, stay with their young until they’re ready to venture out into the world, and then off they go. It’s more complex with humans, a situation explored—successfully if a bit out there—in “Change of Life” by K. Tempest Bradford.
Stories I particularly enjoyed included … “Change of Life”, by K. Tempest Bradford, about a family crisis caused by the mother’s “change of life” and her way to get what she wants…
Richard Horton’s Summary: Farthing, 2006
…the meta I most loved was K. Tempest Bradford’s “Martha Jones: Fangirl Blues”, which utterly glows with its love for Martha, and its rage at the unfolding of her story. Reading it made me want to dance, first with the book, and then with my Martha doll. That alone was worth what I paid for the book. Elizabeth A. Barr