Helen Jackson. Build Guide. (Interzone #244, Jan-Feb 2013)

The first line of the story fazed me : “The new apprentice was a slight, childish figure, maybe 150cm tall and massing about 50kilos.” Whilst the latter measurement was easy for me to work out (half my size!) the former had me struggling converting cm to feet and inches. Surely the sentence could have done without the stats, as it works quite happily without it and avoids a percentage of the reading audience doing the math rather than engaging with the story!

But that’s the only quibble, as it is a neat story that starts with a skinny teenager joining a tight-knit, orbit-hardened and cynical work crew. She’s feisty, and this orbit-hardened and cynical reader thought he knew the trajectory of the story, but nyer nyer nyer on me, Jackson takes the story on a slightly different path.

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