Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Strange Uncertain Light, by G.V. Anderson

[F&SF]
★★★★★ A Moving Fantasy Adventure, with Ghosts

(Historical Horror) Anne hasn’t told her new husband she sees dead people because she thinks she’s insane. Mary sees spirits too, but she’s okay with it. She has a different problem, and she needs Anne’s help. (14,766 words; Time: 49m)

Recommended By: 👍STomaino+2 (Q&A)


"A Strange Uncertain Light," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 07-08|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.386 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The story does a very nice job of gradually making Anne’s honeymoon seem creepier and creepier. Something is definitely wrong in this creepy hotel on the dark moors of England, although it’s not at all what I was expecting at the start. The result is lots of suspense, lots of surprises, and lots of tension.

It’s quite a twist when we realize Mary’s story is at least 100 years prior to Anne’s. Moreover, Anne is seeing Mary before she died, which leads us to wonder if she can reach into the past and help her.

In the scene where Anne talks to the vicar, I was sure the vicar was a ghost right from the start, but there’s something really moving about that scene, probably because Anne gains confidence from the meeting. Apparently even confession to a ghost can make you feel better about yourself. More important, she learns what she needs to do to reach Mary.

Mary’s story is moving because she seeks justice and, as we eventually realize, she gets it. Anne’s story is moving because we see how two broken people can make each other whole. Benjamin’s appearance at the end puts a cherry on top.

Con: It doesn’t seem that Mary really needed Anne’s help to escape.

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