Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Your Orisons May Be Recorded, by Laurie Penny

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(Fantasy Humor) Angels who operate the Celestial Switchboard fielding mortal prayer requests get frustrated and even depressed. (5,634 words; Time: 18m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Recommended
Recommended By: RHorton:4

"," by (edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden), published on by .

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

Pro: For all the humor (and this tale is hilarious), the nameless narrator has a serious problem with job dissatisfaction but a deeper problem with wants vs. needs. She wants "to fuck with human beings" but she needs love.

Her historical interactions with people illuminate just what her sort of fucking really means. As she says, "Nothing is ever just sex." In fact, she consumes her human interests--even when sex isn't involved. She's more like a vampire than a classical angel.

The young human musician somehow sees her for what she is. When he refuses her, even as she's taking inventory of him as if he were her personal property, it stuns her. She says "he looks at me, right through my skin," but the real truth is that she sees herself for what she really is, and that's unbearable.

By the end of the story we can see (and we think she can see it too) that her office-mate, the demon Gremory, really does love her--as family, which is the sort of love she needs, not what she wants. This completes the story.

Minor note: In some traditions, Uriel is the Destroyer. In that interpretation, he's the ideal boss of this division.

Con: The story is funny and memorable, but it isn't moving. The narrator is a monster, not someone who earns or deserves our joy or tears.

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Laurie Penny Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I liked the contrast between the light humor and the darker underlying story. Having worked in a call center, I can say that part was pretty spot-on! :)

    1. So this was really the call center from Hell. ;-)

    2. I think they may all be different levels of Hell! ;)

  2. I had to read your review to understand the ending.

    I certainly got the impression that the celestial call center she was working at was far from a good work place.

    They way I read it, I though it was more about an angel with work burnout in part due to a bad workplace (which may explain why I didn't fully get the ending). Plus she was depressed, so compensated for it by having sex with humans, but it was not enough.