Some wishes are easier to grant than others.
By far the best passages involved descriptions of the laboratory equipment and experimental procedures that are used in this piece. This isn’t hard science fiction, but the emphasis on what could be possible with enough funding and the right equipment piqued my interest. If the author is planning to release more sequels in this series, I’d be curious to see where the technological advancements go next.
It would have been helpful to have more information about the motives of certain characters. Ben, the protagonist, has such a limited perspective of what’s going on that at times I grew a little frustrated with how much he didn’t know. Had this been a novel it would have made sense to leave him in the dark for so long, but I generally expect the main character to adjust to his or her surroundings more quickly in a short story.
The pacing was otherwise strong from beginning to end. The reader is thrown into the action right away which was a smart choice for this subject matter. Figuring out what was going on took me a little while, but once I adapted to the tone I found myself immersed in this new adventure.
I strongly recommend reading the first book in this series, Machines of the Little People, before diving into this one. While the plot can technically stand on its own, the cast of characters is large for something this length. Not all of their relationships are explained right away, so remembering their backstories is crucial in order to know what’s going on during the first few scenes.
The Wishing Stone is a good choice for anyone in the mood for a fast-paced, science fiction novella.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.