Podcast narrated by Kate Baker.
“A standout story to open the issue…Kressel succeeds in that most difficult of things – creating an entirely non-human setting with which the reader is able to engage…Kressel’s writing is excellent, and he creates an altogether alien setting without resort to fanciful word creation…All in all, a great read, and I’m putting the story on the shortlist for the Best SF Short Story Award 2015.” — Best SF
“A powerful story about generational abuse and release and the dream of freedom, this story does a lot of things right. The setting is incredibly original and imaginative, the world of Aya, the main character, one of near abstraction, where Gardeners care to plants that are entire realms, entire universes… It’s a great story, the characters not humanoid but their tendencies definitely human-like. It’s just the sort of science fiction that I love, full of interesting ideas and yet grounded in the idea that people are capable of doing better, capable of being better. Indeed!” — Charles Payseur at Quick Sip Reviews
“A cosmic tale, set in the long early instants of the universe’s first expansion. The universe, it seems, grows like a tree, with branches sprouting new branches, swaying in the gravitron wind. And among the branches are a multitude of Farmers, pruning out anomalies so the branches will grow in the approved manner without giving rise to cancers, such as metastasize into things like life…The real neatness is in the setting and the story’s conception. In essence, it’s a fantasy using the material of cosmology to build with. Some readers will be wanting to match up the author’s rather fanciful, metaphorical descriptions with the current version of the ever-mutating theories of the cosmic birth.” –Lois Tilton at Locus Online
“A story about scale and abuse and the hope for a better world, ‘The Garden Beyond Her Infinite Skies’ by Matthew Kressel is a wheat ale, full of the taste of wide open spaces and clean air and enough of a bite to remind you that the world is alive and growing….Aya and her people are completely inhuman in form, in motion, and yet like all my favorite science fiction stories, this one does an incredibly job of showing the human in an alien character, in showing with golden clarity the scale and scope of our existence, just a drop in an endless sea, and yet regardless of size that life and sentience need to be respected. That abuse doesn’t have to be handed down. That somewhere there might be a place for those who don’t fit in. Like a wheat ale, the story is perfect for summer, looking out on clear skies and feeling a little better about the world.” — Charles at Nerds of a Feather