Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wooden Boxes Lined with the Tongues of Doves, by Claire Humphrey

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(Mainstream) William works for his eccentric uncle while other young Canadian men go off to World War I. (3,492 words; Time: 11m)

Rating: Not Rated No Speculative Element

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 216, published on .

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

Other than William’s feeling that the dried tongues in the boxes made noises, there’s nothing speculative in the story at all.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 216)
Claire Humphrey Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

5 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Oh, this was creepy. No speculative content? I think it's clear that the nephew is under his uncle's enchantment. Not only has he completely forgotten the woman he wanted to marry, I suspect this desire to go to war is all his uncle's doing as well.

    1. Why do you think he's enchanted and not just influenced?

    2. He goes from gushing about how he wants to marry her to not recognizing her and wondering how she knows his name.

    3. Skimming over it, I see you're right. But now I can't see why his uncle was doing it. Or how. Somehow the doves tongues are connected with memory?

  2. When William first arrives his uncle says William will be his heir until he sires a child. Since he's old and alone, this seems to be a joke. But then he actually takes William's place as father and husband. Does he plan to make his wife forget who the child's father is too? How will that work with *her* father knowing the truth? Does William really want to be a soldier or is it just that the uncle no longer wants him around?

    The doves do seem to be connected to memory. Showing William how he clips their tongues, he mentions how they forget and come back because he sometimes finds that one already had its tongue clipped by him or by "some other magician."