REVIEW: “Heartwood, Sapwood, Spring” by Suzanne J. Willis

Review of Suzanne J. Willis, “Heartwood, Sapwood, Spring”, in Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones, and E. Catherine Tobler, Sword and Sonnet (Ate Bit Bear, 2018) — 163-172. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

This is the first story in the anthology to be set in the future — a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has broken into factions and the enemy fears the power of the written word. In such a world, libraries become the bastions of rebellion and words tattooed upon skin provide one last barrier of protection — tattoos made from ink created from the ashes of the books that were burned, libraries filled with books made of word indelible not upon vellum but upon a different sort of skin.

This story in all rights should be horribly, terribly gruesome and macabre. But it just isn’t, and that is what makes it so magical.