Tammy Pendant

Published in Asimov’s, March 2004


“From the writer’s bio we learn that Chris Beckett has been a social worker, a career that judging from “Tammy Pendant” lends a tint of gritty nastiness to one’s worldview. The title character is a problem teen caught in the ministrations of the British social service. We meet her in between foster homes, suffering the attentions of psychologists and caseworkers. Tammy is bitter and angry. She alienates everyone who might otherwise care for her. All the kids at the center where Tammy now lives know about the Shifters, a group of people who can move between worlds. Here’s Tammy’s self-defined salvation. She seduces a Shifter, steals his bag of magic pills, and takes one, only to be caught by the police and brought to the hospital to have her stomach pumped. The system, it seems, won’t let her go. Does the experience change Tammy? That would be telling. Suffice it to say that this is an excellent story with a mean streak that’s true to the very end.” – Jeremy Lyon, Tangent

Snapshots of Apirania

Published in Interzone, October 2000

(This story is collected in The Turing Test from Elastic Press)


“I don’t often laugh out loud when reading, and even less often at stories that are not comedic. “Snapshots of Apirania” by Chris Beckett is not comedic, and it made me laugh. It is funny in a peculiar sort of way. The story is simply the monolog of someone displaying their vacation slides, from their trip to Apirania, a world somewhere else in our galaxy. The narrator is as clueless as any aloha shirted American wandering the streets of Lhasa looking for french fries. It is the tension between the scenes described in the snapshots and the narrator’s remarks on them that brings both laughter and sadness. A clever story, this is the gem of the issue.” – Jay Lake, Tangent