Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Orangery, by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

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(Greek Mythos) The trees in the grove used to be women, and the Guardian protects them zealously from the men who still pursue them. (8,551 words; Time: 28m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ A Great Twist on the Apollo-Daphne Myth
Recommended By: RHorton:4 Nebula

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 214, published on .

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

Pro: The Guardian simply wants to capture the intruder and eject him, but her strategy of sending him to Dryope is too clever by half, once he steals some of the syrup. It's fitting that she ends up exiled. Having learned in exile, it's fitting that she wants to serve again.

Apollo's obsession with Daphne extends even to being willing to chop her down and take the wood, but, thanks to the Guardian's bottle of syrup, he ends up sharing eternity at her side--as another tree. It's fitting that he ends up nameless.

Dryope went to Apollo willingly, destroying her own marriage in the process. She made herself a tree not to get away from a man (for Apollo left when she told him to go) but out of her loneliness and grief. In that sense, she was unlike the other trees, so it's fitting that she got a second chance as a human being and made a fine guardian. Not to mention a great tour guide.

Con: The political message is a little heavy. A few minor inconsistencies mar the story. For example, the syrup is rare except that we're told that all the women in Daphne's town had a vial of it.

The notion that Dryope takes people on tours of the glade is amusing, but also jarring. It clashes strongly with the tone of the rest of the piece.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 214)
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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