Review of Narrelle M. Harris, “Passive Aggressive”, in Myths, Monsters, and Mutations, edited by Jessica Augustsson (JayHenge Publications, 2017): 270-274. — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)
So much drama in fiction (and in reality, if we’re being honest here…) relies on people who say one thing but mean another, hidden, thing. In this story, Harris turns this technique on its head — people say one thing but what they mean is not hidden, it is known to everyone. As a result, there are always two layers of conversation going on, the what-is-said and the what-is-meant, and between this double layer is a layer of tension that continues to build and build until you know it must explode, and how it must explode, but not exactly how. Those exact details are a surprise that makes the story worth reading to the end.