Sunday, January 20, 2019

Seven Stops Along the Graffiti Road, by David Cleden

★★★★☆ Clever and Mysterious

(Horror) Ry can’t remember much about the old world. No one can. They just remember getting up every day to walk further down the apparently endless road. (7,485 words; Time: 24m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘RSR+1 πŸ‘STomaino+1 (Q&A)

"Seven Stops Along the Graffiti Road," by (edited by Andy Cox), appeared in issue 279, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.057 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: It’s a clever, mysterious setup.

The seven stops are:
  1. Child of the Road, where he meets Kari, the little child. 
  2. Freia, where he meets the woman who becomes his companion. 
  3. The Kovac Family, where they meet some really nice folks who make things interesting for a while. 
  4. The Wrong-Way Man shows that it’s possible to go the opposite direction, but painful and confusing. 
  5. Going Off-Road, where the Kovac’s decide to try to find the ocean through the woods. 
  6. Going With the Flow, where Kari appears again and dances with Ry. 
  7. The Road Ahead, where Ry feels invigorated by the dance and thinks the end must be near.
The first three are about Ry meeting new people, and, in the process, teaching us about the strange world Ry lives in (and quite a bit about him as a person too). The next three are about breaking the rules, either by going the wrong way, or leaving the road entirely, or getting on the road when you're not supposed to.

At the conclusion, Ry is still on the road, but now he has company, and he's more optimistic than he's been in many years.

Con: None of the mysteries is solved. It ends with all the big questions unanswered, and it's not clear what Ry really has to be optimistic about.

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David Cleden Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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