REVIEW: “Mnemotechnic” by Fiona Moore

Review of Fiona Moore, “Mnemotechnic,” Cossmass Infinities 8 (2022): 56-75 — Purchase online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

I love a story where the main character is described as having used to be a computer, and I genuinely cannot tell for the first page whether the word is meant in hardware or the human sense! The initial scenes leave it genuinely open to going either way. Of course, in a story as long as this one, the matter does get settled, but by the time it is, I’m already hooked enough that I don’t care which way it goes.

I was reminded of another story recently reviewed,

REVIEW: “Misrule” by Fiona Moore

Review of Fiona Moore, “Misrule,” Luna Station Quarterly 51 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Misrule is a multifaceted entity in this story — both the time of year when the Lord of Misrule holds court, but also the court itself, and the chaos that results from it. When Mary faces Misrule, it’s in the form of the wanton destruction of her mother’s livelihood, and it’s an enemy that she cannot fight. For as the Vicar says, “There’s always Misrule. It’s a way of letting go of the pain of the other fifty weeks of the year.”

This was a timely and thought-provoking story. Reading it, I couldn’t help but think of the recent protests in the UK, arising out of the myriad crises facing the ordinary people. They’re protests now, but how many tomorrows will it be before they are riots? Before we have our own form of Misrule? Maybe the Vicar is right: set aside twelve days each year for destruction, and maybe we can survive the rest of the year. Or maybe Mary is right, and rather than trying to endure it we must undo the very foundations on which Misrule is built. I’m not sure I’m convinced Mary’s solution is one that can be applied more generally, but it was certainly interesting to read it play out.