Review of Emily Strempler, “All Manner of Wounds”, Luna Station Quarterly 40 (2019): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.
Content warning: Needles.
Noemi is a med-school student, balancing her studies with caring for her mother and her daughter, managing her diabetes, and maintaining a job. It’s funny what things you’re willing to suspend your disbelief in for the sake of fiction, and what things draw you up short and make you laugh at how unrealistic they are: Noemi shows up late to class, and her professor pauses his lecture to tell her to see him after class to get notes for what she missed so that she has them to write her next paper. Maybe I’m cynical, but I’ve been in academia too long for this to seem anything more than a fantasy…
That aside, I found the story compelling and intriguing, to the point where I was about 2/3 of the way through before I realised that there was hardly anything in the story that counted as speculative (other than self-driving cars). I spent the final third waiting to see if there was going to be, without any satisfaction. The story ended abruptly, and I was left feeling like I’d missed something rather important, but being entirely unclear what.