Thursday, November 3, 2016

Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies, by Brooke Bolander

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(Horror) The girl he killed was much more than merely human, and there will be consequences. (1,105 words; Time: 03m)

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ Needs Improvement
Recommended By: Nebula Readers

"," by (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas), appeared in issue 13, published on .

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

This is a Mary Sue story with a heavy social message and no plot. It's a revenge fantasy against a nameless, faceless murderer. It's unsatisfying because we don't know the killer well enough to appreciate his demise and because the immortal victim was merely inconvenienced by being murdered. There's something faintly ridiculous about a being that "can crush galaxies" going to so much trouble to get revenge on a single young man, however evil he might be.

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6 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I had to have a read of this story when it was voted by Uncanny readers as their favourite for 2016. It is very short and freely available online, so that bit was easy.

    I liked it a lot better than you. This story is emotionally powerful, and it has a way of reaching out to the reader on an emotional level. I think that is why it stood out in the memory of readers. I personally don't think it is a "Mary Sue".

    As for the pettiness from such a powerful being...
    The Greek gods from Greek mythology were very petty towards themselves and towards mortals for a lot less.

  2. The trouble I have with the story is that there isn't anything to it except for the emotional content. And it's the cheap emotional rush of seeing a 100% evil bad guy (who isn't even named) utterly destroyed by a supernatural being of limitless power. Beyond that, there's no plot, no dialogue, no other characters--nothing at all.

    As for "Mary Sue," I like Django Wexler's definition that it's a character who enjoys such favoritism from the author that it destroys suspension of disbelief. I've read this story three times now, and I still cannot see what there is to like about it.

    You're right about the Greek Gods, though. They were a petty bunch.

  3. Like June, I liked it better than you. But to me it's just a quick bit of dark fun -- not really a stand out. I'm surprised it's gotten so much attention. Of course, the villain is unnamed and a complete caricature. The whole point is that he's every privileged asshole who thinks they're doing you a favor by noticing you. I think it's balanced by the fact that the protagonist is one-dimensional too. She's *literally* a shrieking harpy! She's every victim of unwanted attention of any degree taken to the extreme.

    1. It just sounds too much like a revenge fantasy for me to see much fun in it. To me, it comes across as bitter.

    2. Certainly it's very angery, but there's humor too -- like becoming mortal for cigarettes and shawarma.