Review of Hannah Hulbert, “Petrichor”, in David G. Clark, Callum Colback, Joe Butler, and Alex Hareland, eds., Beneath Strange Stars, (TL;DR Press, 2020): 15-31 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)
I always expect the opening story of an anthology to typify the entire collection, to set the scene, so to speak. This story does not, however, make good on the expectation set by the foreword and introduction. If what makes a story science fiction is the presence of some sort of science in it, then this story is definitely not science fiction, but instead pure fantasy. The story alternates between two points of view, that of Nolauronomailik, an Earth elemental, and Nol his priestess, who worships him as a god.
But while I found it a perplexing choice to open this collection, I did not dislike the story itself. It had some lovely imagery in it, and some poignant moments as Nolauronomailik must balance his fallibility with Nol’s belief in him.