Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Karen Joy Fowler Book Club, by Nike Sulway

Lightspeed Magazine, October 2015; 6,623 words
Rating: 2, Not recommended  Recommended By:  Locus

What if rhinoceroses behaved like human beings and talked about their upcoming extinction during book club meetings?

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

Pro: Depicting people discussing how to cope with impending extinction juxtaposed against the reminders that they're really rhinoceroses is very clever.

Con: The effect in practice is that your immersion in the story is rudely interrupted every time some character wallows in a mud hole or pokes another one with her horn. The story goes on way too long, and there's no real action at all.

3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Hummm.

    I assume this is some kind of homage or pastiche of Fowler's own "The Jane Austen Book Club," possibly with other riffs on Fowler's work, like her story "What I Didn't See" which was a homage to Tiptree's "The Women Men Don't See"...

    I'm a big, big fan of Karen Joy Fowler, so I'm looking forward to anybody devoting time to spotlighting her. But I have no idea what to expect from a story like this. From this review, it sounds like I shouldn't be holding my breath too hard. But on the other hand, maybe the story relies on context and familiarity, and then (possibly) I might enjoy it more than you did.

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    Replies
    1. By all means let us know if you do. We're eager for people to use this space to actually discuss short fiction. I'd love to hear an explanation of what this one was really intended to mean.

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    2. Will do!
      I'm not a Lightspeed subscriber, so I won't have the story till the end of the month. But I'll be back then :)

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