Tuesday, May 2, 2017

My English Name, by R.S. Benedict

Find this issue
(Horror) The narrator is an alien who takes human form, but periodically has to change it. This is a problem if it falls in love with someone. (10,696 words; Time: 35m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Well-crafted and Unsettling
Recommended By: SFRevu:4 GDozois:5 RHorton:5 JStrahan

"My English Name," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 05-06|17, published on by .

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

Pro: Since this is the story of a single incarnation, it concludes when Thomas Majors ceases to exist. The plot revolves around Major’s desire (and ultimate failure) to make this incarnation “real.”

Once we learn that Daniel Liu is gay, we’re not surprised that he’s in love with Thomas. More surprising is that Thomas is clearly in love with him. Not in a sexual way—that’s impossible—but in every way that really matters. Even at the end when it just needed to be left alone to complete its transformation, it couldn’t bear to hurt Daniel, so it let him in—a mistake that led to the whole ambulance scene.

When it finds Daniel again later, it's disappointed Daniel didn't recognize it, but that's what makes it fully understand that this was just not meant to be, and that concludes the story.

Con: It’s never clear what the entity sees in Daniel. He’s a pushy, spoiled child.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 05-06|17)
R.S. Benedict Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

Follow RSR on Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or E-mail.

4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Very impressive first story! The tension of the entity desperately trying to keep the Thomas Majors mask in place was well done.

  2. His more recent "Water God's Dog was also pretty good, although I ultimately gave it three rather than four stars.

    1. "Her" according to F&SF's introduction.

    2. Drat! And Blogger won't even let me edit my own comments. :-(