Thursday, June 27, 2019

A Handful of Sky, by Elly Bangs

[BCS]
★★★★☆ 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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