Review of Shelby Van Pelt, “Carry On”, in David G. Clark, Callum Colback, Joe Butler, and Alex Hareland, eds., Beneath Strange Stars, (TL;DR Press, 2020): 49-58 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)
This was a story full of paradoxes. It was full of sharp, fine details that made the setting feel intimate and real, and yet I couldn’t tell you where or when it was set. The first-person narrator continually addresses an unnamed “you”, but that “you” is not me, the reader. Instead, it feels like we’re inside the narrator’s head, overhearing her internal monologue, as she recites her history and how she and her friend ended up stranded in a desert when almost everyone else has moved on, made the long trek to the south.
Even in the ending is shrouded in mystery and uncertainty. I think I know what happened — but I won’t spoil the surprise by telling it here.