Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Glow-in-the-Dark Girls, by Senaa Ahmad

[Strange Horizons]
★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

(Surreal) A group of women have been chemically altered to set cities on fire from a distance. Not everyone thinks this is a good idea—including the women themselves. (4,199 words; Time: 13m)

"," by (edited by Jane Crowley and Kate Dollarhyde), appeared in issue 01/15/18, published on .

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

Pro: The story chronicles the evolution of the women from secret weapons, to public heroes, to public enemies, and finally to victims. There’s probably more of a message than “war is bad” and “public praise is fickle” but I’m not seeing it.

Con: There’s no development of the characters, so we end up not caring much about them. Nor is there any plot to speak of. As a result, the story is long and dull.

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. About the exploitation of poor, young girls who thought they were signing up for a better life. In the end, they form a family as the only ones who can understand.

    It didn't sound to me like they set the fires from a distance.

    1. I suppose I'm reacting to lines like "Moscow burns the way everything burns—beautifully, from a distance." And they're watching it burn on TV, so it seems they were far away.

    2. I believe that was after they'd been retired. One of them says about Moscow: "They should have let us do it. We could have burned it better." The other times sound like they're physically present. Presumably that's why they were young women -- ease of infiltration, who would suspect?