Thursday, December 14, 2017

Trette's Bones, by Grace Seybold

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(Dark Fantasy) In a town where becoming an adult means surrendering a body part and getting a ghostly replacement, the narrator opts to sacrifice a finger, but their twin sister has something extreme in mind. (8,167 words; Time: 27m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 241, published on .

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

Pro: This is really the story about how Trette destroyed the Ossuary and freed the town and its people. The narrator is almost completely undeveloped as a character and takes no actions that affect the world.

The implication seems to be that Trette, with her ghostly ear bones, was able to hear what the powers behind the Ossuary really wanted. Maybe that drove her mad, but she doesn’t seem mad. It seems more likely that she gave them what they wanted, knowing it would destroy them.

The story has a strong Lovecraftian feel to it.

Con: It’s a bit of a letdown that we don’t find out what she said that made the whole town go crazy.

Because of the remoteness of the narrator, none of the characters is very developed, and it’s arguable that there isn’t really a plot at all. (That is, that Trette wasn’t planning anything either.)

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6 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. The lack of specifics (or even a hint) about what exactly might be going on was a problem - I don't think the ending felt satisfying - but it was extremely atmospheric and the build up was quite chilling.

  2. This took sibling rivalry and amped it up to the extreme and that was heartbreaking. But it would have been nice to have more info on the world-building.

  3. There were definitely a lot of good things about this story, but it just didn't quite come together. I sometimes think that to be outstanding a story needs to be strong in four or five areas but an editor is content with stories that are strong in just two or three.

    1. Seems pretty reasonable - in terms of entertaining people via the full lineup across an issue, something that's particularly strong in story, or character, or emotion, or humour might be a better choice for making an impression on a reader than one that's middling in all of them.

    2. The ones that surprise me are the ones that are seriously deficient in one or another area but get published anyway. Like stories with no plots, or with elementary writing errors. Invariably, those have cool settings or cool ideas, but is that really enough?

    3. Potentially yes. I think the job of selecting stories for a zine is subtly different from finding the best of the best as a reader. An issue as a whole a) can support some flaws across a set of stories if b) some of those stories make a big impact. A plot-free character piece might not be the best story of the issue, but it can make an interesting change of pace within the issue and potentially strike home with a reader.