Tuesday, January 8, 2019

To the Beautiful Shining Twilight, by Carrie Vaughn

★★★★☆ Well-written, Touching, and a Little Surprising

(Portal Fantasy) When Abby and her friends were young, they travelled to Faerie and saved the Queen. Thirty years later, a Knight of Faerie comes to ask her help again, but can she? And will she? (4,341 words; Time: 14m)

Recommended By: 👍RSR+1 👍STomaino+1 (Q&A)

"To the Beautiful Shining Twilight," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 01-02|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.033 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: At its heart, this story is about Abby deciding whether to stick with her life in this world or leave it behind and go to Faerie. She’s middle-aged, her life has become a routine, she’s just treading water, and the best time she ever had in her life was when she followed Airen to Faerie thirty years before.

I suspect most people over fifty have mused about reliving some part of their youth, and that’s essentially what Airen is offering her. Yet she turns him down, which is very much the right thing to do; you can’t be that young person again, and it’s foolish to try.

It’s gratifying that Airen actually cares enough about her that he still comes to visit and listen to them play even after she turned him down. I wonder if that’s the real answer to his riddle: Abby is the blossom that will not ripen (i.e. she and he will not be together), Airen is the corpse that will not rot (i.e. he’ll be around long after they’re all dead), and the band itself is the song that will not end (or at least hasn’t ended yet).

It’s very cute that she invested the Faerie gold from her first quest in a building and made it something people would call “a piece of a different world.” It's a nice twist on the usual story of people squandering it all.

Con: Supposedly she stays behind because she built her place from scratch and feels she has to take care of it. But in the real world, people sell up and move on all the time. The story doesn’t really make her life in this world sound attractive enough to make it clear why she’d want to stay here.

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Very nice that she chooses the place she's created and her good friends. This reminds me a little bit of Ursula Vernon's "The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society."

    1. That was a fun little story, wasn't it? "Pookas are efficient!"

  2. I agree with the rating and the review. This story is really worth reading.