Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Tomato Thief, by Ursula Vernon

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(Fantasy) Someone (or something) is taking Grandma Harken's tomatoes, but finding the thief leads to a real mystery--and danger. (14,000 words; Time: 46m)

Rating: ★★★★☆, Recommended
Recommended By: SFRevu:4

This story is related to her award-winning short story, Jackalope Wives, but there's no need to read that one first.
"," by , appeared in Apex Magazine issue 80, published on .

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

Pro: The author has crafted a beautiful, complex world, and she nicely ties up most of the loose ends. We learn why the mockingbird doesn't try to escape, for example: she won't leave the roadrunner boy. Grandma herself is a delight. "Blessed St. Anthony, give me strength to defend my tomatoes."

Con: The story has little tension in it; we're absolutely sure Grandma Harken will prevail. There's no real emotional payoff either.

Grandma Harken seems quite a fool for going into the cold-thing's lair without a plan. We also wonder that the trains didn't do something to deal with this problem sooner, given that it impacted them directly.

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Loved this one! Both the world in general and Grandma in particular are wonderful. I went back and read Jackalope Wives first since I've been meaning to anyway. Loved that one too. Hope there will be more.

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  2. Yes, she creates wonderful characters in all of her stories. An author worth following for sure.

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  3. Yes - Loved this one. Great story.

    There was tension for me. I didn't know for sure how it'd end, and I wasn't sure if Grandma Harken will prevail OR fully prevail until the end.

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    1. I guess I just had more faith in her than you did. :-)

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