Saturday, June 15, 2019

A Handful of Sky, by Elly Bangs

★★★★☆ A Rich World with a Complex Plot

(Dark Fantasy) Jorren gets a dangerous commission for magical clothes. One that might let her recover much of what she lost when she fell out of favor decades ago, but only if she can figure it out. And survive it. (8,299 words; Time: 27m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 280, published on .

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

Review: 2019.345 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Right off the bat, the commission seems a little too good to be true. There must be some kind of catch; we just don’t know what it is.

Much of the appeal of this story is figuring out the magical dystopia Jorren lives in, as well as getting some idea of just how she ended up in this situation. Also, there’s the mystery of “Gray Thing” and why it haunts her.

The scene where young men were lining up to sell their youth and trying to ignore the old men walking out was particularly effective. It really hammered home the enormity of what’s happening in this world. (Of course, in the real world, having a job is all about trading a good chunk of your life for money.)

Still, bad as this world is, letting Grey Thing burn it all down would make things worse, not better. A good solution needs something much better than that.

When Jorren finally figures out what the sky jacket really does, she finds that much better solution. Sure, there’s almost certainly going to be a revolution, but by giving the people hope, it seems far more likely that the result will be positive.

Con: Given how powerful the coat was, it’s a little weird that Jorren didn’t try to use it to do at least a few things for herself—including finding a way to shred it without killing herself.

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Elly Bangs Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. You've got two different reviews for this story:

    1. Thanks for finding this bug. The later review for this story and the other BCS story from June issue 280 are the correct ones. Somehow, Greg forgot he already wrote the earlier reviews. Between this hiccup and the 12 stories from the June ratings that had the wrong URL due to reviewing them the month after they were published, it seems like something came up that affected Greg's reading schedule, but nothing jumps out in our calendar...

    2. To be clear, I unpublished the later reviews and moved the content back so the links from the July ratings can stay the same.