Monday, September 11, 2017

Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand, by Fran Wilde

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(Surreal Horror) Your guide takes you through an exhibit of curiosities—what once would have been called a freak show. (2,027 words; Time: 06m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas), appeared in issue 18, published on .

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

Pro: The descriptions are genuinely creepy, and it’s suitably horrible when the visitor’s hands are mutilated at the end.

It’s likely that there’s a symbolic message I’m completely missing, but I don’t see what it is.

Con: There’s no story here, and the descriptions go on for much too long.

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7 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Very visceral, dark, and angry. I'd say it's pretty clearly about "normal" people objectifying those who are different. Even those ostensibly trying to help treating them as things to be dissected and studied. Showing "you" the harm done and what it feels like.

    1. A strong message but a weak story. I try really hard not to reward that, although I know lots of people feel otherwise.

  2. This was a very atmospheric and (as the previous commenter said) visceral piece. I enjoyed it; I found it thought-provoking and creepy.

    1. There's always the most debate over stories with either a really strong message or a really strong setting but a weak or absent plot. I'll think about this one some more; two stars may be too harsh.

  3. Beautifully written.

    What is the point at the end ?

    1. Well, it seems the reader has been turned into a monster and put on display. Laura probably has the best interpretation for it.