I won’t give away too much of the story if I quibble with its title: Instead of “anniversary”, it should be “anniversaries“. This not-quite-a-time-travel story hinted at complexities that are never quite explained, but the ending is satisfying enough that I didn’t really care about the unanswered questions I had.
In this story, Weiss combines the power of marketing with the elusive lure of virtual reality to create a glimpse of a possible future which both vaguely unsettles me and makes me really, really hungry for cheese.
Once a year all the Ladies in White from across history gather for their annual conference — this year, in a hotel “like an antique wedding cake preserved by moonlight” (p. 8), as only befits such a gothic gathering — except this year they aren’t the only people at their hotel. Chance has brought the narrator, herself a woman spurned, to the same hotel, and for a night she is adopted into their company. But she’s not ready, not yet, to become a lady in white herself. This is quite a hopefully, uplifting story for such a ghostly premise.
I loved this story about a woman who is able to speak with time! Christie conveyed the way Time spoke to Katie, its language and vocabulary and ‘voice’, with great skill and conviction. Short and sweet, this was very satisfying.
Cassidy Braithwaite is the “loving daughter of Charles and Lena Braithwaite. Treasured fiancé to Vaughan Gallagher” — and also an atheist. She never expected to end up as ghost upon her death. Unfortunately, while she waits for those who loved her to come to terms with her death, she discovers that she doesn’t actually want them to do so, because it means that they are moving on, and so must she. Vaughan might be ready to let her go, but she’s not ready to let him go.
This story could’ve been vaguely sweet and romantic, but instead was rather stalkerish and selfish. I appreciated Cassidy’s sidekick Franky, who recognized how problematic her relationship with Vaughan was (even if he was never able to convince her of it) — until the point when he started aiding her in her pursuit. Just not really the sort of story for me, I guess.
This odd little story started off like a Scottish folktale and ended up firmly in the realm of horror. For most readers, everything we have have been taught has taught us to sympathise with the mother who only wishes to save her child; and yet, every step of the way, but most especially at the end, the mother of this story is terrifying.
When the story started, I thought this was going to be something I’d really enjoy; but it ended up being a bit too moralising, about the virtues of reading vs. the vices of screens, which I found both irritating and a bit ironic considering that I was reading this story in an electronically published journal, on my screen! And then Hartless chose J.K. Rowling as an example of an author that should always be kept on hand — “So many everyday ailments can be solved with a dose of Potter.” In 2022, it’s no longer a neutral choice to pick a noteworthy transphobe. In the end, I was pretty profoundly disappointed to see such a story printed in LSQ, which normally is extremely reliable in the quality and satisfaction of its stories.
What’s the best way to eat a butterfly? Well, “they have to be fresh or it’s so much harder to extract the hope.” Lines like this pepper this vaguely creepy little tale, always just close enough to normal for its weirdness to be unsettling. There’s something sacrilegious, the way the butterfly eater delights in her prey, and it’s wildly entrancing to read.
This story had a typical generic-fantasy sort of feel to it, except for the choice of “fear” as the focal point for the titular goddess. I really enjoyed the way Grimes developed a liturgy and religion around fear, both receiving and destroying. So that was something a little bit different which made the rest of the story worth reading.
This was a lovely little story of the friendship between a pilot, Rhyme, and her spaceship, the Raison d’Être — heartwarming, delightful, bittersweet, and sad. A really beautiful and engaging read.