In “The Answer Was Snails” by Bo Balder, the author used an immersive setting and subtle world-building to aid his unique plot. We at The Echo love sci-fi, but we especially love that this piece had an interesting story in addition to its original alien-tank-captive story! We loved that the creatures in this story were new and unrecognizable, adding to an almost whimsical quality to this piece. Balder’s writing is fantastically descriptive, but it doesn’t get caught up in itself, there is no meaningless padding of images that mean nothing to the plot, everything is perfectly intentional. We loved the concept of this story: humans being kept as pets or exhibitions, but not cared for. Our favorite part of the story was when Robin had to run from air hole to air hole, in his desperation to reach Annie in her terrarium. The fact that this dystopian story managed to also uphold a sweet love story was remarkable, along with love and determination being the driving factors of Robin’s actions was amazing and gave a sense of hope for the endurance of love. This piece hit all the points and checked all the boxes, leading to an incredibly dynamic sci-fi story!