Diabolical Plots #60, February 2020
“Invasion of the Water Towers” by R.D. Landau
“The Cliff of Hands” by Joanne Rixon
Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf
Readers have a choice between stories with strongly contrasting settings and moods this month.
The title of “Invasion of the Water Towers” by R.D. Landau is quite literal. Water towers suddenly come to life and trap customers inside a coffeehouse, leading to a joke ending. This brief parody of alien invasion stories consists mostly of the narrator’s satiric observations on modern society. How much you will enjoy it depends on the degree to which you appreciate sarcastic wisecracks.
“The Cliff of Hands” by Joanne Rixon takes place far from the familiar setting of the previous story. All of the characters in this imaginary world have wings, as well as hands. The protagonist was born with a crippled wing, and is unable to fly. In her society, adulthood only comes after soaring to the top of a cliff and leaving handprints. She climbs the cliff instead, risking her life to leave childhood behind.
Possibly intended as an allegory for the struggles of the disabled, this story provides a main character with whom one can empathize. Although the plot is simple, the created world is unique and interesting. One technical aspect of the narrative may provide a challenge for some readers. The author is fond of unpronounceable names, full of diacritical marks, which can be distracting.
Victoria Silverwolf wonders if there will be a third story from this publication later this month. Watch this space!