Monday, January 15, 2018

Big Mother, by Anya Ow

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(Modern Fantasy) The narrator and her friends go fishing for snakehead in a stream in Singapore, but the biggest one is something more than just a fish. (4,991 words; Time: 16m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Vivid, Charming, and a Little Scary

"," by (edited by Jane Crowley and Kate Dollarhyde), appeared in issue 01/01/18, published on .

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

Pro: First a couple of bits of background that might help: Yama is the King of Hell, and snakehead is a real type of fish which can actually come on land.

The story pretty much tells how the narrator made a step into adulthood when she bargained with Big Mother for the life of her friend, and it tells how she escaped having to pay because progress destroyed Big Mother’s stream and the King of Hell’s forest. (Which can be read as saying that adults should not take too seriously the things they did as children.)

The story does a fantastic job of making her life as a Chinese girl in Singapore seem real, and that’s probably the greatest pleasure in reading it. It also does a decent job of making her brother and the three neighbor boys into real, distinct characters.

Con: The story takes too long to get going. There’s little or no supernatural element until almost 2/3 of the way through it.

The kids get off a little too easily, and I really wanted to know what happened to the three brothers.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 01/01/18)
Anya Ow Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Nice coming of age story. Here's a blog from the author about it:

    She says that it is her first pro short fiction sale -- so I assume Campbell eligible.

  2. Thanks, updated the spreadsheet, the New Writers page will be refreshed tomorrow with the monthly Recommended By updates.