Monday, March 7, 2016

Love Is Never Still, by Rachel Swirsky

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(Greek Myth) A sculptor falls in love with his statue and asks Aphrodite to turn her into a real woman. Then things start to go wrong--for all parties concerned. (9,249 words; Time: 30m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas), appeared in issue 9, published on .

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

Pro: A beautiful re-imagining of the Pygmalion and Galatea story, "Love is Never Still" manages to be both funny and poignant. It seems much more believable that a statue would make an unsuitable bride, and, in particular that the gift of the love goddess would prove temporary.

The account of the love triangle between Aphrodite, Ares, and Hephaestus comes across very differently from what we find in the myths; here, Aphrodite genuinely loves her husband and feels pressured by Ares into something she doesn't really want.

It's interesting how the sculptor obsesses over giving offense to the love goddess, even though she's far too preoccupied with her own problems to pay attention. When Galatea returns to being a statue, harmony is restored for her, for the pedestal, and for the sculptor as well.

Con: Not all of the threads are wrapped up in this story; we don't know what happens when Ares and Hephaestus meet, nor do we really understand why Aphrodite returns to the sea to be reborn. There's probably a subtle message here, but, if so, it eludes me, and the interview with Rachel Swirsky doesn't clarify it.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 9)
Rachel Swirsky Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

5 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I think this story will have the classic marmite effect. I loved it, but couldn't really describe why. It started with a tight enough premise but the entwining stories sort of spiraled open and by the end it wasn't clear what direction any of the strands were going in - but I felt that the _theme_ had been concluded.

  2. I agree the theme was concluded. I just felt there were too many loose ends to give it a higher rating. If there's a deeper message, I'd love to know it.

  3. Oh, the story link is broken.

  4. This was gorgeous. I loved it.