This is a story of a woman who is lost inside herself, lost inside the trapping of being a woman, being a mother, being “a support, a failsafe, for her family.” She doesn’t have time for friends, for hobbies, for anything more than a linear life of one thing after another. But there’s more to Ren’s life than that, and we the readers are given intermittent glimpses, as the unfamiliar breaks through the routine, as the fantastical interferes with the normal, as Ren herself tries to reconstruct the memories she once lost. It’s an eerie, unsettling story, smashingly done.
“Gald” is the story of a group of misfits who have banded together to make their own found family. Minnie, Shasta, and Raynald are “all illegal, no profiles, no scan codes, no fish tickets, nothing”, always traveling at night and avoiding the sokes. But one night they meet Venlis, on the run from one of the sokes herself, and with Venlis comes trouble.
Parts of the story I liked — it had a weird, lyric quality to some of it, and there were hints and bits of interesting background world-building — but the structure of the story didn’t quite work for me. It ended up abruptly, cutting off without any resolution or any explanation of what was going on. It left me feeling unsatisfied.