Thursday, July 30, 2015

"This Is the Humming Hour" by Kate Heartfield

There's much in the telling that bugs me, or leaves me cold at best. And if I wanted to make the argument that readers and writers, if not necessarily magazines and publishers, should consider fantasy and science fiction as more distinct (albeit enormously overlapping) entities than they tend to in the current environment this would be Exhibit A for fantasy — among other things it allows a purely metaphorical reading in a way that does not compromise it the way it would a science fiction story (though I continue to think that purely metaphorical readings are inherently compromised, to some degree). And fantasy qua fantasy, to be frank, tends to bug me too: as such the "speculative element" here, though ably portrayed, tends to underwhelm. However. I admire the way Heartfield evokes the sensory and experiential oddness of urban (or suburban) sleeplessness, and even more so I'm glad to see difficult nursing be considered as valid a subject for (as valid a call to) fiction as any other. And if the negative parts of this paragraph are much longer than the positive, that's only because I feel more of a need to explain and insert caveats with the former.

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