Diabolical Plots #77, July 2021

Diabolical Plots #77, July 2021

“Along Our Perforated Creases” by K.W. Colyard

“Kudzu” by Elizabeth Kestrel Rogers

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

Two stories featuring women weakened by circumstances who find ways to empower themselves appear in this issue.

“Along Our Perforated Creases” by K.W. Colyard takes place in a surreal version of the modern world where women who are threatened with violence can literally fold themselves into smaller forms, enabling them to escape attacks. Eventually, they discover a way to unfold themselves into shapes larger than normal.

The metaphor for the oppressed finding the power to defend themselves is clear, and can be read as an allegory of feminism. (The fact that a nonbinary individual is the first to become larger than normal suggests a broader application of the theme, but the story is mostly about women.) The narrative is almost all exposition, and may appeal more to the mind than the heart.

The protagonist of “Kudzu” by Elizabeth Kestrel Rogers suffers from cystic fibrosis. Like other disabled persons in this future, she is able to overcome her physical limitations by controlling a giant robot exoskeleton. Once inside this device, she uses the machine’s strength and agility to fight invasive species in a ravaged environment. An unexpected encounter provides a fit metaphor for her situation.

The premise is an engaging and inspiring one, described in a plausible fashion. The plot is simple, and may leave readers wanting more.

Victoria Silverwolf has to buy some nightlight bulbs in the morning.