Friday, September 7, 2018

Conspicuous Plumage, by Sam J. Miller

★★★★☆ Beautiful Characters on a Mission

(Modern Fantasy) Bette’s family hasn’t recovered from her brother’s murder, but she thinks she has a magical power that could make things better—if she can figure out what it is. (4,704 words; Time: 15m)

This story is not available for free online; you have to purchase the issue to read it.

"Conspicuous Plumage," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 100, published on .

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

Review: 2018.504 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Bette finds the answer to what happened to her brother but, more than that, she and Hiram have found each other and seem like they’ll be good for each other. Best of all, her ability to “melt the ice” should allow her to make things better for her parents and other people in her town.

The story does a particularly nice job of developing the budding romance between Bette and Hiram. Even though she never directly says she’s interested in him, her thoughts of him are consistently kind and approving, and he’s always nice and considerate. When they kiss, it seems like the most natural thing in the world. Bravo!

Bette isn’t seeking revenge for her brother’s death. She says she wants to understand what happened so it doesn’t happen to her, but the real truth is that she wants to melt the “ice” that she sees has ruined her life at home.

Con: It’s a little unclear how her magic works. Will she and Hiram have to make love every time she uses it? And how is “melting the ice” connected with making paper cranes fly?

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Sam J. Miller Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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