Saturday, April 11, 2020

To Balance the Weight of Khalem, by R.B. Lemberg


(Allegory) The story of how Belezal, a war refugee in Khalem managed to escape to a better country and how he came to terms with having lost not one but two homelands. (9,229 words; Time: 30m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘GTognetti+2 πŸ‘MHaskins+1 (Q&A)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 300, published on .

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

Review: 2020.176 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Although the locations are fictional, this could be the story of any bright young refugee having to flee from one place to another. But this is more than just the story of a student refugee and his suffering. (The narrator never expresses a pronoun preference, but he chooses a man’s name, and he’s insistent that Gabi be able to accept him as a boy, even if he’s not quite sure that’s what he wants, so I’ll use “he” here.) This is the story of a young person who’s not sure he wants to identify as male or female, although he’s tending towards male, and who finds a lover who has undergone a profound transition (from girl to sea creature) but who may not accept him if he decides he really is a boy.

There’s some significance to the onion representing the city, and the city being a balance, but I can’t quite make it come together.

Con: It’s not a very interesting story, and it doesn’t help that it’s very long with no action or tension whatsoever. Maybe I’d like it better if I could figure out what it was trying to say. Also, since the speculative element is allegorical, one could argue this story isn’t genre at all.

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