“On the Day You Spend Forever with Your Dog” by Adam R. Shannon
Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf
The latest issue of this magazine of imaginative fiction offers three original short stories.
“On the Day You Spend Forever with Your Dog” by Adam R. Shannon involves a peculiar kind of time travel. The anonymous protagonist (addressed throughout the story only as “you”) injures a dog in a car accident. You adopt the dog. Years later, you euthanize the dog to put it out of its misery. You invent a theory of time travel that would require creating a wormhole and traveling at a velocity close to that of light. This is, of course, impractical. Later, you manage to return to the past in a way never fully explained, but somehow similar to cryptography. You relive your time with the dog repeatedly, but are unable to alter events.
The circular nature of this story’s plot ensures that the only changes that occur are within the protagonist. Whenever you go back to your previous life, you do not recall anything that happened before, but are aware that you are traveling in time. The main appeal of a tale that, by its very nature, offers no resolution is its emotional depiction of the bond between people and dogs.
In “Girls Who Do Not Drown” by A. C. Buchanan, supernatural sea creatures, who can take the form of humanoids or horses, carry young women into the ocean to drown. The main character, who proves to be something other than an ordinary girl, confronts such a being, with unexpected results.
The story takes place in a small town on an isolated island. The author compares escaping from drowning to breaking free from such a place. When the nature of the protagonist becomes clear, it is evident that the plot is an allegory for staying true to one’s inner self. This is a simple tale with an obvious message, but the reader will empathize with the main character’s struggle.
“Captain Midrise” by Jim Marino is a character study of an aging superhero. Once able to fly anywhere at great speed, he is now only able to glide slowly, and only at a certain height. Despite these handicaps, he is still able to aid those in need of help.
The author creates a convincing portrait of an extraordinary character in a realistic world. The plot is episodic, but anyone who is no longer young will identify with a protagonist whose remarkable powers cannot hold back time.
Victoria Silverwolf notes that this issue also contains a reprinted story with a title that many will find disturbing.