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Month: May 2018

Review: Salt Lines

Review: Salt Lines

Originally Posted at Tangent Online, April 30, 2018

“Salt Lines” by Ian Muneshwar

Before I dig in, I have to say this story wasn’t written for me. I’m a cis white guy and I don’t think the ending is meant to speak to me on the same level as it would someone like the narrator, Ravi. That said, there’s much to love here.

The tale follows Ravi as he’s chased by a jumbie, which is a somewhat generic name for spirits or demons in some Caribbean countries. Through his flight, we learn about Ravi’s upbringing as well as his current family life. All of these seem literally to feed the jumbie, until we reach the climax of the story. It’s this ending that lost me, but up until the last few paragraphs Muneshwar had me enthralled. As I said above, I don’t think I’m the target audience for this ending, so take that disconnect with a grain of salt (that’s a pun if you read the story).

Review: Variations On A Theme From Turandot

Review: Variations On A Theme From Turandot

Originally Posted at Tangent Online, May 16, 2018

“Variations On A Theme From Turandot” by Ada Hoffmann

This story is, as the title says, a series of variations on the opera Turandot. It’s a strange piece that explores the Turandot character, Liù, as she’s played nightly on the stage by a woman known only as Soprano. Liù has somehow come to realize she’s a character in an opera and spends the rest of the story tweaking and twisting the lines of the story to change the ending.

It’s a rather beautiful story and well worth a read. The piece gracefully weaves the modern-day scenes of the Soprano with the slow, purposeful manipulation of the Princess by Liù. By the end, I’m left with a sense of wonder; wonder at the meaning of art, of the reflection of our lives in the lines we write or the arias we sing. But mostly I wonder at the impact our words have on future generations; on how a central theme of one person’s life might lend to a skewed view of love and loss.

Review: We Feed the Bears of Fire and Ice

Review: We Feed the Bears of Fire and Ice

Originally Posted at Tangent Online, May 7, 2018

“We Feed the Bears of Fire and Ice” by Octavia Cade

“We Feed the Bears of Fire and Ice” is a beautifully haunting piece about climate change. The narrative structure is loose; a tale told by the author in a not-too-far-flung future where the reality of our current choices tear the world asunder in a two-pronged storm of hubris.

The story here has less to do with narrative and everything to do with awareness and change. Cade reaches into your chest and pulls out your heart, then asks: “how much does this cost?” It’s a terrifyingly honest look at how our choices affect the world and, subsequently, what will likely happen if we don’t make changes now.

In the end, Cade seems to posit that, because of our pride and purposeful ignorance, even we will disappear. A recurring phrase throughout the piece seems to sum up Cade’s prediction about humanity’s future: “Organisms that can’t adapt to changing conditions should just die.”

By the end of the story, it’s hard to think she’s wrong, at least in our case.