Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Miracle Lambs of Minane, by Finbarr O'Reilly

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Post-Ecological Apocalypse; Celtic Kraken) In an Ireland recovering from the great famine of the 2030s, a young man gets a job with an older doctor who’s growing odd things in her garden. (7,173 words; Time: 23m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 145, published on .

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

Review: 2018.538 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: It’s a compelling account of what it might be like living in a community decimated by an ecological disaster but starting to recover. The mention of people who remembered when Ireland was home to millions, not thousands, is particularly chilling.

Con: The narrator is just doing a job; he has no real impact on the action. Dr . Verane is the real protagonist, but she’s mostly a mystery to us, even at the end.

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5 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I'd argue that the story is appropriately told from the narrator's POV - it's in part about the making of a folk hero, so the perspective of someone who knew her as a person and then as a legend is the right one. The narrator has enough of a part in the action to keep me reading.

    Also, Dr. Verane isn't _that_ mysterious - it's pretty clear that she is performing abortions, which puts her in conflict with what appears to be a repressive theocratic state.

    I agree with the three-star rating but would give this an honorable mention.

    1. On reflection, I think you're right. I upped it to honorable mention.

      As for Dr. Verane, yes it was obvious what she was doing, but we got no insights into why or into what sort of person she was.

  2. forgot to add: one of the folk uses of silphium was as a contraceptive and abortifacient.

  3. Are you sure the narrator is a young man? I don't think their gender is specified at any point and their interactions with Grace, particularly when finding out Grace is pregnant, gave me the impression that the narrator may be a woman.

    1. Yeah, right at the start: "The parties . . . allowed solid rural women to meet observant city boys . . . . I had been to a few such events, but . . . the women were not to my taste."

      Unless the author is trying to deceive us, the narrator is a city boy.