In this story, the main character undergoes two important transitions: one from AFAB to trans man, the other from human to vampire. It’s a pretty blunt metaphor, and while the story of how “the good girl” got turned feels raw and real, I’m also a little bit uncomfortable with the equation of transitioning and becoming a monster.
Rossman’s stories appear in LSQ not infrequently — but after a couple of years of reading and reviewing LSQ stories, seeing her name attached to one of them is guaranteed to make my ears perk up, as her stories are pretty reliably good ones.
This present story is the story of Emi, a pictomancer like many others in her town, but unlike them, her paintings don’t take on the same magical life as theirs, the potential once seen in her (“People used to tell me I’d be an elder by the time I was twenty.”) trapped and inaccessible.
No one, least of all Emi, talks about what happened to make her this way. But even before she finally articulates it to her sister, it’s easy for reader to fill in the gaps, at least for anyone who has experienced how depression can prevent you from exercising your creative outlets.
That being said, I wasn’t especially keen on the way depression was treated in this story. Dex, Emi’s sister, tells her that it’s a good thing she’s depressed, that suffering is what gives art depth and meaning. Emi’s friend Ronaldo warns her against taking medication for it. Parts of the story felt heavy-handed and preachy at parts, and I’m not sure I liked the message.
When you think about it, it’s funny that in administrating something as complex as hell, there aren’t more clerical errors. But whether due to clerical error or the “cursed result of the union between a human and a demon”, Amy was “not like the other demons”. But while on the surface Amy was pure and innocent and childlike, underneath she’s not all that she seems, and she exploited her childlikeness for demonic purposes.
The way the story is set up, I think many people would find it humorous, and laugh at Amy’s antics. For me, it wasn’t to my taste simply because of a personal not liking people who are not children pretending to act like children. I never felt any sympathy with Amy, but neither did I feel any sympathy with her victims. As a result, this story somewhat passed me by rather than brought me in.
Content note: Death of a child.
This story of Eleanor and the little green monster Gidget starts off bright and cheerful. It’s a bit confusing at first because of the lack of context, but the more context we are given, the sadder the story becomes. Really, really sad. By the end, I was crying. If you’re a parent, don’t read this story without having your kid nearby to hug when you’re done.
Review of Jennifer Lee Rossman, “Riot of the Wind and Sun”, in Glass and Gardens: Solar Punk Summers, edited by Sarena Ulibarri, (World Weaver Press, 2018): 29-37 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).
The premise of this short — one of the shorter ones in the anthology — starts off quite pessimistic: We often look to the wind and sun to provide us alternative power supplies, providing us with basically endless energy. But there is only as much energy as there are turbines and solar panels and converters and storage for what has been converted, and in Rossman’s future Australia, that power is often hoarded by the major cities, sending the outback villages into blackout.
But the premise of this anthology is stories of a more hopeful future, and the story did not disappoint in its hopeful twist, becoming a story of a village working together to put themselves back on the map, quite literally, and which — and this is truly meant as a compliment — reminded me of nothing so much as Horton Hears a Who.
I really really like this work. I love the premise, and I loved how Ve is blind, but was still allowed on the trip. Instead of her people thinking that she was defective and leaving her behind, they brought her with them to Earth, and I love that. I love how, even without looking it up, I knew exactly what song was included on that disk, the one that Ve was so obsessed with. I love the way Ms. Rossman lets us imagine the aliens the way we want to, while still giving us hints of how they’re different from us.
I absolutely adore Ve, just all around. Something about her…she just seems sweet. Like one of those people you see and you instantly want to smile and hug them. Those are some of my favorite people, and that’s the vibe I get from her. I love how she comes across as intelligent, or intuitive, at least. She knows she has a weakness, but she thinks of how she can use it as a strength for her people. She isn’t afraid to put herself on the line, to try and ensure the best for her people. I love so much about the story, and most of it centers around Ve…which makes sense, considering she’s the focus of the story, but anyway.
The ending, ah, the ending. It’s so bittersweet. I can’t decide if I like it the way it is, or if I’m mad cause there’s not more to read. Either way, this is a gem, and I recommend it.