I’m not allowed to review Diabolical Plots for Tangent Online since I’m a first reader for the magazine, so… this one isn’t associated with them. :p
Full Disclosure: I didn’t read this story during my first reader duties this submissions cycle, so it ended up being a pleasant surprise. Also, the title hooked me immediately. I like me some classy swear words in a title.
Also, since this isn’t associated with Tangent, Imma let the swears out for once.
You’ve been warned.
“Save the God Damn Pandas” by Anaea Lay is fantastic. At its basic, it follows a guy who tries to get pandas (who can talk thanks to technology) to fuck, while confronting his own ticking biological clock.
The story is rough and tumble in its descriptions and completely earnest in the characterizations and dialog of the characters, including the pandas. At its core, this story is a straight up, early-2000s comedy plot, with all the deprecating humor you can handle.
I really enjoyed the story, perhaps in large part to the prevalence of the profanity. There’s something visceral about its use that spoke to me. It’s rare I read a story and end on a smile.
UPDATE: Just read my cohort’s review over at TO and apparently they don’t agree. Oh well. Personally, I think the ending is actually quite believable, at least the single part that’s actually resolved. Then again, I grew up in a house where a cousin acted as a father for the entirety of my sister and younger brother’s life without any sort of sexual or romantic liaison with my mom, so two best friends deciding to adopt a baby doesn’t seem that far fetched to me.