Tuesday, October 13, 2015

And the Winners Will Be Swept Out to Sea, by Maria Dahvana Headley

Lightspeed Magazine, February 2015; 5,718 words
Rating: 3, Good, ordinary, story  Recommended By: io9

In the modern world, a water spirit mourns the loss of her mortal lover.

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: This is a complex and difficult piece, but on the surface, the water elemental finishes her mourning, abandons her human form, and returns to the ocean. At a deeper level, it seems to be a metaphor for intense love between hopelessly incompatible people, in which one left and the other mourned for a while.

Con: We're only guessing at what it means. If we take it literally, the End Beach, where people sacrifice things like their hands, is simply not believable. That might be some metaphor for other kinds of dysfunctional relationship, but we're really grasping at straws there.

2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I very much liked this, but it's a difficult story from a difficult writer. I read several of her works in short order because of a recommendation, and her style takes a lot of getting used to. I think you've just got to abandon hope of a logical story and go with the flow.

    (Pun partially intended)

    1. I'm okay with difficult stories, but before recommending them, I need to feel that the reader has a chance of understanding them.

      I can understand that there are people who enjoy "flowing" with a story even if they don't understand it. For the purpose of guiding people who want to make Hugo nominations, though, I don't think such a story could ever win.