Saturday, July 15, 2017

Random Reviewlet 2

Bodies Stacked Like Firewood by Sam J. Miller, a short story published in Uncanny Magazine.

At a funeral, two people make a connection. Warning: some spoilers may be ahead.

I understand why this story is in Uncanny Magazine, as it's about an uncanny event between two people who were dealing somewhat poorly with grief and life choices. But most of the story is about relationships, with only the slightest connection to fantasy/science fiction.

The main character is a bit of a sad sack, going through life listless and unhappy because he is unwilling to commit himself to joy. The woman he meets at the funeral is equally messed up, but for reasons we aren't really all that clear about. The decision they make to honor their dead friend's wish to be cremated was both frightening and amusing - frightening because they were drunk, and amusing because they couldn't, in the end, go through with it the way they wanted to.

This is very much a story about knowing who and what you are - couched around a slightly mystic story of a young trans man who believes some people can see the future. The only one in the story who I find at all appealing is the dead man, and we only see him through his writing and the viewpoint of the main character.

I couldn't decide if the ending was supposed to be about the dead man setting up the others to be together, or if he was just sending a message to them. Either way, the ending had a nice impact, but seemed terribly slight for such a heavy subject matter. Was it a dream? Was it the alcohol? Had they had a bit more than just alcohol? Or was the ending literal?

Conclusion: A surprisingly slight story, a decent read, but nothing that's likely to stick with me.