Thursday, July 5, 2018

Straconia, by Jack Skillingstead

★★★★☆ Creative and Twisted

(Horror) Frank follows his wife to another world and struggles to find his way home. (9,914 words; Time: 33m)

"Straconia," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 07-08|18, published on by .

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

Pro: The most striking thing about this story is the Kafkaesque world of Straconia. You can always go somewhere; you’re never exactly confined, but it’s not obvious how to get anywhere useful.

Frank struggles to get home, and although he doesn’t succeed, he ends the story much more in control of his environment than he started. His rejection of the citizenship cards makes total sense because it shows that he hasn’t given up hope of going home again.

There’s probably a deeper meaning here relating Straconia to the frustrations of life in our own world, but I can’t quite come up with a fully coherent mapping. Perhaps someone can offer something in the comments.

Con: Frank really is kind of a jerk. We know he doesn’t care much about his wife. When he’s trapped in Straconia, he doesn’t make much of an effort at first to try to figure out what the rules are, which causes most of his problems. And he destroys Jonas’s card without asking his permission first.

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Jack Skillingstead Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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1 comment (may contain spoilers):