A Review of When Stars Move and Other Stories

Book cover for When Stars Move and Other Stories by Shannon Rampe. Image on cover is a photo taken of the night sky just after dusk. You see a thin strip of mountains and plain dirt at the bottom of the cover and then above it an expansive stretch of night sky, black on top and then slowly lighting up to a blue colour near the horizon where a little sunlight still remains but is quickly slipping out of sight for the evening. Title: When Stars Move and Other Stories

Author: Shannon Rampe

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: December 11, 2020

Genres: Science Fiction

Length: 63 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 4 Stars


A princess outside of time and history puts her trust in a rusty artifact instead of her treacherous family. The captain of a disintegrating war ship rushes toward a resolution for both human guilt and extreme augmentation. A young woman who has been “reignited” confronts a system that does not work at all in the way she has been conditioned to believe. In these three stories of death and rebirth, Shannon Rampe invites readers to immerse themselves in fantastic worlds and accompany their memorable characters on journeys of discovery and re-creation. Shannon Rampe’s work has appeared in Speculative City, Abyss & Apex, and on The Gallery of Curiosities podcast, amongst others. His hobbies include yoga and craft cocktail-making, though not (usually) at the same time.


Content Warning: Murder, sexism, religion, mental illness (post traumatic stress disorder), and genocide. I will not discuss any of these topics in my review.

Survival is about more than continuing to breathe.

I smiled at Anusha’s courage in ”When Stars Move.” As a princess, her freedom was virtually nonexistent, but she still had the urge to explore the world around her and learn as much about it as she could. The world building was handled nicely, especially when it came to how her Imam’s interpretation of how constellations moved across the night sky influenced everyone’s lives. I also enjoyed the conflict between Anusha’s inquisitive and stubborn personality with the pliant and obedient young woman she was expected to be.

Hermes, the dying warship in ”Ghost Parade,” made me curious to see what would become both of the ship itself as well as the heavily augmented protagonist. The most interesting part of this tale for me were the descriptions of how a small number of soldiers had received brain implants that allowed them to share thoughts and plan complicated battle techniques. This is one of the few tropes from militaristic science fiction that I find intriguing to think about. The melding of machines and human flesh was frightening enough, but using the violent result of it in order to better figure out how to wipe out entire civilizations made it even more horrifying for me. I will leave it up to other readers to discover how a soldier might cope with such an experience, but it it was thought provoking and made me think about the brutality of war even for the victors.

As interested as I was in the unique blending of religion and science in ”Reignition,” I struggled to emotionally connect with the characters. There wasn’t a great deal of time dedicated to character development or to describing what made the protagonist so interested in breaking the rules of her religious community, so I had a hard time predicting what Karma might do or say next. This pattern was repeated with everyone around her, too, which meant that I ended up being far more interested in the world building than in who lived in those settings or why certain topics were forbidden.

When Stars Move and Other Stories has piqued my curiosity about Mr. Rampe’s writing.

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