Two weeks left in this year's fund drive (have you donated yet?), and our fiction recap reaches May:
Art © 2014 by Bo Moore
- "Saltwater Economics" by Jack Mierzwa (part two; podcast one and podcast two)
- "Sarah's Child" by Susan Jane Bigelow (podcast)
Time for the reviews:
Lois Tilton found this one atmospheric:
A strongly-realized dismal setting, an extremely depressing piece, piling on the external decay of pollution, the internal rot of metastatic cancers, and the psychic corrosion of loneliness. Anna’s concluding epiphany may solve the last of these problems, but the larger disintegrations, of environment and society, don’t seem likely to find a solution.
At Tangent, Kris Rudin had a couple of reservations, but was on balance positive:
In “Saltwater Economics,” Jack Mierzwa brings us a riff on the Creature from the Black Lagoon – in this case it is the Salton Sea Monster. Anna is a marine biologist, and if anyone is not going to believe in said monster, it is she. Yet she keeps seeing something rippling the water, and then sees something rifling through her backpack, and the evidence of its muddy fingerprints on her things. What transpires after that involves Anna’s relationship with her daughter, cancer, and the repercussions thereof. While I felt the ending was a bit abrupt and Mierzwa could have gone a bit deeper into the analogy between Anna’s relationship between Anna and her daughter and Anna and Felix, the story unfolded well, and Anna rang true as a character.
And Mierzwa also wrote about the setting on Tumblr.
Kris Rudin recommends:
“Sarah’s Child” by Susan Jane Bigelow deals with relationships, longings and multiple dimensions. One night, Sarah has a dream that she has a child named Sheldon. But Sarah is a transgender female, so cannot bear children, and this dream causes nearly unbearable grief. She has more dreams about Sheldon, and then, inexplicably, gets a text from someone saying he cannot pick up Sheldon for the weekend. As Sarah and her partner try to discover what is going on, the story explores many issues around family, love, parenthood and acceptance. While there is no explanation of how the dimensional rift happened, or what it even is, in the end, this is really unimportant. Ultimately, what is important is what it means to be a human being. And that is what this story is about. Recommended.
Whereas Lois Tilton is less moved:
Problems here are all personal. Sarah begins to dream of being a mother, having a son named Sheldon. She tells herself she’s lucky in her life with her lover Janet, but that’s a lie. “I touched the space on my body where my womb would have been, if I’d been born with one, and ached.” Then she meets the actual Sheldon and discovers that he’s the child she would have had in the alternate universe where she was born a girl named June. It all turns out peachy and Sarah realizes she’s lucky, after all.
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