REVIEW: “All the Turns of the Earth” by Matthew Claxton

Review of Matthew Claxton, “All the Turns of the Earth”, Analog Science Fiction and Fact January/February (2020): 132–137 (print) – Purchase Here. Reviewed by John Atom.

Contains spoilers.

Narrated in the second person, this story features a  young child mysteriously catapulted into prehistoric times.  There, the child finds the abandoned egg of pterosaur and raises it into adulthood. The two forge a strong relationship with each other, but before long, the child falls back into the present day. She grows up grows up wondering if she’ll ever see the pterosaur again.

First, I must confess a personal bias: I don’t really like stories told in the second person. More than often I find second person stories contrived and gimmicky, adding little or nothing to the core of the narrative. That said, Claxton manages to avoid the usual distractions of second person, creating a rather engaging little yarn. The prose is elegant and poetic, and even though at times it verges on the “purple,” it goes a long way at making the scenery come alive. I particularly enjoyed the description of the transition from the past, back to the present:

You stumble, and skin your soft hands on the asphalt.

The story might feel a bit out-of-place to regular readers of Analog, as it belongs more in the realm of fantasy or magical realism than anything remotely resembling hard SF (Analog’s usual cup of tea), but I nevertheless enjoyed it while it was there.

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