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Rounding out our original fiction for April was "The Siren" by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (podcast):

When Jen came home from school, she found a woman in the pool in her backyard. At first, as Jen stood at the threshold of the sliding glass door and looked out at the water, metallic in the sun, she thought the woman was a mermaid. But once she got a closer look, she saw that the woman was indeed just a woman stretched out on a pink pool float, a glass of red wine in her hand. Her blood red hair was twisted into a dainty bun atop her head, and she wore a deep blue bikini. The woman's legs crossed at the ankle, and Jen assumed that this was why she had mistaken her.

Colleen Chen at Tangent said:

Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out what exactly Mina had lost or why Jen’s solution helped. Obviously the editor must have understood these things, but I would have liked a tad more spoon-feeding, as I was left with a lot of questions, extreme ambivalence about all the characters, and a feeling of being not quite satisfied.

Lois Tilton glossed the story this way:

A story of loss. Mina has lost what she once was, along with her wings, although not, it seems, her song. Sam has lost her husband, Jen’s father; they’re now living without much purpose in a too-large, too empty house. But Mina, in her loss, will lose them all.

I like the seductive descriptions of drowning. But I have to wonder what Mina had been before she lost her wings and her home. Luring people to drown is, after all, what a siren does.

Ken Schneyer, meanwhile found it "haunting, sexy and sad." Bonnie also posted a list of her favourite mythology retellings when the story was published, which may be of interest.

Fund drive update: $7,650. Next bonus content, at $8k, is a podcast of our fund drive poetry plus round-table discussion. In the meantime, why not check out the rest of the bonus issue?

Niall Harrison is a reader and fan.
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