Review of Wendy Nikel, “Lonely Children Lost at Sea”, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue 302 (April 23, 2020). Read online. Reviewed by Richard Lohmeyer.
“The sea giveth and the sea taketh away” could well be the theme of this excellent story. It takes place on an island where a small number of children—only children—have been periodically stranded. Over time, the original children have grown up and a rough but functional society has evolved. More recently stranded children are cared for in a communal fashion, since “the miracle of conception, which reads like fairy tale magic in our books” is impossible on the island. Nevertheless, some of the original children, such as Theodore and Gina, have paired off, while at least one other, Loraine, finds herself in an unrequited love triangle. She yearns for something more with Theodore—one of her closest friends in childhood, as was Gina—while Gina yearns for a child of her own. She gets her wish when a new child, given the name Maris (or “of the sea”) is rescued. However, “be careful what you wish for” could be another theme of this story, and Loraine’s sense of foreboding, brought on by the adoption, is borne out.