Saturday, July 7, 2018

Speak Easy, Suicide Selkies, by E. Catherine Tobler

★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

(Historical Fantasy) They say that when women throw themselves into the sea, they turn into seals. Teen-age Louise, dying of tuberculosis, finds a magical seal skin that turns her into a new person. Then the owner shows up. (7,599 words; Time: 25m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 255, published on .

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

Pro: The accounts of what drove the different women to suicide (Ruth especially) are heartbreaking.

Con: The magic system is very confusing, and this ruined the story for me because the plot is totally dependent on it.

The first part is clear enough: If you dive into deep enough water, you’ll turn into a seal. (Perhaps a metaphor for becoming a spirit.) You can come back and leave a seal-skin on the beach, but you’ll always drip water. (I.e. you'll be a wet zombie.) If you get tired of that, you can find your old seal skin and go back to the water (to the next life).

But Louise didn’t commit suicide in the usual way; she picked up Helen’s seal-skin, and it did exactly what? Let her be a seal without suicide (and cured her TB) and yet return to life on land as a whole person? And let her put on magic shows? But when she let Helen have it back, why did Louise turn into a zombie?

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E. Catherine Tobler Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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