Monday, July 3, 2017

How to Find a Portal, by Debbie Urbanski

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(Portal Fantasy) Her parents warn her about the people in white vans who take little children to portal worlds, but the narrator really, really wants to go. (6,765 words; Time: 22m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"How to Find a Portal," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 86, published on .

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

Pro: The portals seem to be a metaphor for a different life. The narrator never gets one because her desire for a new life is purely selfish.

Although I've classed this as a portal story, it's a rather special case of one, since the protagonist never actually reaches a portal world.

Con: The narrator is so unpleasant, we get tired of reading about her. She talks about the good evenings when her family ate popcorn and played board games. Then we watch her obsess with finding a portal and in the process loses her partner and her job. From that point, we’re not rooting for her to succeed at all, nor is she ever redeemed.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I think the portals are a metaphor for death. She's obsessed with something that most people want to avoid -- like creepy strangers luring you into vans. The portal girls are unsuccessful suicide attempts. Finally, the portals start appearing regularly to her dying mother, and she's jealous because she'd like her own life to be over.

    1. I like that. It makes more sense than my own interpretation.