Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Skin, by Garrett Ashley


(Slipstream) Foster and Bryce have a happy life until he starts bulging out of his skin, revealing that he’s really made of fungus. It upsets his friends, and it makes him question whether he really wants to be human. (4,938 words; Time: 16m)

"Skin," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 03-04|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.119 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This story explores the question of what it means to be human. Foster has been forced to appear human his whole life, so when it starts to unravel, it’s not a complete surprise that he wonders what might have been and wants to explore the life “gelli primes” live.

The primes almost seem to be a metaphor for homeless people, and Foster quickly discovers he doesn’t really have much in common with them. He’s more curious about a part of himself that budded off, imagining that it’s growing into something amazing. The truth, when he finds it, it disappointing. He may be a fungus, but he’s human in all the ways that matter, and he ends the story knowing that that’s what he really wants to be.

Con: I had trouble identifying with Foster. He seemed way too lackadaisical about the fungus sticking out of his body. As Bryce said, “I just don’t understand how anyone could let themselves go like that.” Ultimately it felt like Foster merely solved the problem Foster had created.

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