Friday, December 9, 2016

The Penelope Qingdom, by Aidan Moher

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(Modern Fantasy) Teenage Ivan finds a lot of things confusing, not least of them why the miniatures in his best friend's basement seem to come to life for them. (5,804 words; Time: 19m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Mur Lafferty), appeared in issue 5, published on by .

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

Pro: The tale is deeply touching. We witness Ivan growing up a lot, experiencing his first crush and then losing her.

The animated miniatures seem to symbolize him growing up, since they stop transforming for him. Ironically, he might have lost Penelope anyway simply by outgrowing her.

And yet her final gift to him was a bit of magic that he could keep, even as a grown up.

The writing quality is excellent: the narration is transparent, the dialog is flawless, and Ivan, Penelope, and Mr. Qing are all strong characters. We really care a lot about the outcome.

Con: The biggest problem with the story is that it goes nowhere for the first half. Up until Ivan decides he wants to kiss Penelope, there's no plot whatsoever.

The supernatural has so little importance to the story that it could easily be replaced with something mundane.

Ivan's two moms are so similar that I kept forgetting there were supposed to be two of them.

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