Thursday, May 7, 2020

Lonely Children Lost at Sea, by Wendy Nikel


(Dark Portal Fantasy) A small community clings to a beach where stuff from our world washes up regularly—including small children. Then a small child who doesn’t fit changes their lives. (4,827 words; Time: 16m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 302, published on .

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

Review: 2020.216 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The story’s dismal location becomes very real. I have a clear picture in my mind of a cold, gray place surrounded by mists—even thought I’m pretty sure there’s no actual description of the setting.

Lorraine knows there’s something wrong with Maris right from the start, even though she can’t put her finger on it. I can understand how these orphaned children find themselves wanting to raise children of their own. It’s a pity that Gina and Theodore choose Maris.

And yet, there’s some implication that Maris came from the sea to take some of these orphans away. That’s especially true if you read this as an allegory, and that the children are all dead and living in a sort of purgatory. In that reading, Theodore is lucky because he gets to move on. Loraine seems to be thinking something like this in the last line.

Con: If we don’t adopt a symbolic reading, the story is hard to like. A young couple, orphans themselves, adopt a traumatized refugee child. They stand by their adopted child, even as she shows more and more anti-social behavior, hurting people, and putting other children in danger, until ultimately she dies and takes her foster father with her.

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Wendy Nikel Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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