Monday, January 14, 2019

The Thing, With Feathers, by Marissa Lingen

★★★★☆ Vivid, Moving, Chilling

(Post-Apocalyptic Modern Fantasy) Val leads an almost solitary life keeping the lighthouse at an inland lake. A man needing help with his magic interrupts her routine and brings unwelcome reminders of the life she lost. (5,999 words; Time: 19m)

"The Thing, With Feathers," by (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas), appeared in issue 26, published on .

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

Review: 2019.069 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is the story of how Lucian came to Val for help at a time when she had given up hope and how they learned to work together and became something much stronger than either had been alone.

Although we never do get all the details of what “the event” was, we know that it shattered civilization (they can no longer make concrete), that it turned all the birds (and only the birds) into dangerous, toxic creatures, and that pockets of survivors continue fighting it—even in what remains of the cities. It also seems to have modified human beings at least a little because people like Val and Lucien can manipulate magic now. Only a few people, though, because Val’s neighbors are a bit uneasy about it.

The lighthouse, we quickly learn, isn’t about protecting boats; it’s a way to suppress the transformation in at least some number of birds, making the whole community safer. Whatever caused the event, it seems to have flowed out of bodies of water. Val operates it faithfully, even though she’s lost her faith in the future.

Lucien hasn’t lost his faith, but he’s managed to break his magic in some “hare-brained” scheme to disinfect a slough with Val’s old boyfriend Mik. In parallel with Val’s journey from despair back to hope, the story also tells how Lucien decides to settle down. In a very real way, the two start at opposite extremes and meet in the middle.

In the big fight against the flock of geese, the two have to come together, and it’s clear to both of them that they’re meant to be a unit. Maybe not sexually, but in all the ways that matter.

They're both better off at the end. Val has hope, Lucien has realistic hope, and they've both earned it.

Con: Given the magnitude of the catastrophe, it’s hard to see how anyone figured out how to use this new “magic” in time for it to be useful. From what we see, it’s hard to understand how there are very many survivors at all.

Other Reviews: Search Web
Marissa Lingen Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

Follow RSR on Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or E-mail.

No comments (may contain spoilers):

Post a Comment (comment policy)