Monday, February 1, 2016

Starfish, by Karin Tidbeck

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(Fantasy) Kim takes a cruise in icy northern waters to help her recovery, but she can't shake the feeling that what she really needs is another world entirely. (2,006 words; Time: 06m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

"," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 69, published on .

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

Pro: The setting is spooky and mysterious. The captain gradually goes from seeming like a buffoon to becoming real, and the suggestion of a possible relationship seems plausible.

Con: It's very hard to believe that the captain sailed off from his passengers and risked his ship. Worse, it's not clear what the story is actually about or where it takes place. The "galaxy's arm" certainly isn't something you can see from Earth. Other details don't work. For example, if you put a sea creature in a thermos bottle, you'll find it dead when you open it.

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. An amazing story.

    The cold, the ice, the songs of the walrus bulls and the story of the Coffin that might bring you to another world.

    If you put a sea creature in a thermos bottle will you find it dead when you open it? I don't know, it depends on what sort of creature it is. In this case, I don't think it is an Earth creature at all. The starfish is a clue that maybe this is another world. But the 'galaxy's arm' might describe the Milky Way, as we have all seen it.

    Tidbeck's best stories describe new ways of being, new feelings, sometimes grim and frightening. This is a very good Tidbeck story.

    1. The writing is pretty, but does it tell a story at all?

  2. Very atmospheric, but the ending left me wondering if they were just going off to die together. It is explained that the passengers will be picked up by the next tour boat. And I don't think the Skipper is too concerned about the ship. Either they'll come out the other side (back to his world?) or they'll capsize. I thought the relationship between the two was more father & daughter than possible romance. He wonders why someone so young would want to go, and she just seems fond of him, nothing more.