Immortal Complacency

A review of Billie Milholland’s “Autumn Unbound” in The Puzzle Box (Edge, 2013)

Cover Photo of The Puzzle Box courtesy of Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

Cover Photo of The Puzzle Box courtesy of Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

By Derek Newman-Stille

The stories in The Puzzle Box tackle the subject of a box that holds secrets and produces changes in the world. It therefore makes sense that Billie Milholland explores the mythical figure most connected to a box in her “Autumn Unbound”. Pandora, tied to Epimetheus by Zeus’ command, seeks to find her own life, wanting to separate herself from the bounds of her life. In seeking to become Pandora Unbound, she is cast into the mortal realm, reborn with a new identity, but still bound with the same chains of fate and relationship.

In her immortal life, she lived only a half life, chained to another, and only in her mortal life does she see the opportunity to live a full life, appreciating the small things in her world. Denied aging and choice, it is only as a mortal with a short span of years can she challenge and question things.

The immortal life creates a web of complacency with the way things are and a desire not the change or question the status quo. But, when Pandora submerges herself in mortality, the short span of years invests her with a desire to challenge things, to alter her own worldly context and stand up for her own needs and wishes.

To find out more about The Puzzle Box, visit Edge’s website at


Trapped by Destiny

A review of Lydia Peever’s “Shrinking Dwell” in Pray Lied Eve (Hora Minor Productions, 2013)
By Derek Newman-Stille

Cover image from Pray Lied Eve courtesy of Lydia Peever

Cover image from Pray Lied Eve courtesy of Lydia Peever

It starts with a ball of ice that has fallen from the sky. Connor becomes fascinated with this odd phenomenon, obsessed with the mystery and the need to solve it. He can’t figure out why others aren’t as interested as he is – why others don’t seem to care about this small oddity. It is often the small things that people ignore that point to a larger imbalance in the world, a bigger oddity.

Drawn by this mystery and his need to solve it, Connor begins researching ice, sound, and the possible conspiracy of fate around him that keeps pushing him to change the churches around his city to modify the sounds of their bells… and the atmosphere surrounding them.  Despite the warnings of the people around him, the obvious dangers he sees as he explores further depths to this conspiracy of the world, he continues to pursue his obsession.

Lydia Pever’s “Shrinking Dwell” explores the power of obsession that can possess someone – the need to know, the need to solve a problem. Connor’s obsession has absorbed him, encompassed him, and he becomes caught up in a larger pattern of fate/ moira… an inescapable draw from which he cannot escape. Obsession becomes a loss of personal power, a loss of control and internal motivation. His compulsion becomes all-encompassing.

Peever illustrates to her reader that destiny is not always good or kind, and can be a trap.

To find out more about Lydia Peever and her short story collection Pray Lied Eve, visit her website at .