Saturday, June 4, 2016

Breathe Deep, Breathe Free, by Jennifer Marie Brissett

(SF) Gas leaking from a deep well is slowly asphyxiating everyone in a community, and two boys discuss what they can do about it. (849 words)

Rating: 4, Recommended

"Breathe Deep, Breathe Free," by appeared in the June 2016 issue of Lightspeed Magazine (Issue 73), published . This story is only available in paid copies of the magazine. It is not available online.

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

Pro: Superficially, the two boys talk about doing something, and then one of them gets up the courage to act. That's enough of a plot for a short-short.

But, obviously, there's a deeper metaphor here about the way black people feel trapped in a system that's killing them. Whether from actual poisoned water (as in Flint) or from police whose unjust brutality poisons people's souls. And the authorities deny there's a problem or else keep promising a quick fix that never comes. Setting things on fire probably won't help--if it worked at all, it would burn everyone together--but at least the boy is trying to do something.

Con: The message is a little heavy-handed.

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