This was a golden beautiful Mexican/Axtec-influenced fairy tale/myth. Reading it was like getting a glimpse through a door opening into a whole new world, a real pleasure.
“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.
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.
Content note: Brief mention of conversion therapy.
The prospect of impending parenthood isn’t always glorious and romantic and hopeful and fun. Sometimes it’s full of anxiety and fear and uncertainty. No matter how many stories other parents tell you, no matter how much time you spend imagining what the future will be like, there is nothing that can prepare you for what it will really be like. This story grapples with all of these issues in a realistic and sympathetic way.
This story is one half of a conversation, from Lottie to her dead grandmother’s partner Maris. Ordinarily I’m not a huge fan of either monologues or 2nd-person narration, but since it was made clear from the start that I, the reader, was not the object of Lottie’s observations, these two stylistic choices didn’t bother me as much as they often do. I liked the intimate way Boswell explored the fall-out of the death of a loved one, and what we learned of Grandma Al, and I liked the ambiguity surrounding Maris. However, I did feel like the story was strong out longer than it needed to be, and that it might have been improved by tightening it up and making it tauter. Personal opinion, though.
Reading this story of perjury and how it must be punished on the night of Impeachment Eve was a poignant and strange experience. Where Pan lives, perjury is punished swiftly and sharply: you cannot lie if you have no tongue.
On the one hand, it sounds barbaric, hearkening back to a less civilised, more violent age.
On the other hand, when one sees — Trump’s America, Johnson’s Brexit — the horrific consequences of lies, it hardly sounds barbaric enough.