Diabolical Plots #31, September 2017

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Diabolical Plots #31, September 2017

“Strung” by Xinyi Wang
“The Entropy of a Small Town” by Thomas K. Carpenter

Reviewed by Filip Wiltgren

What if you could tell when you met your destined significant other? You couldn’t search for them, couldn’t find them, but once you saw them, you’d know. And what if they never showed up? This is the central premise of “Strung” by Xinyi Wang, a charming story about free will, attraction and what it truly means to love.

Not my regular fare, but I enjoyed “Strung” quite a lot. The story is short, fast-paced, and the ending twist caught me unawares. Highly recommended if you like thought-provoking, well-written stories with a plot.

Following the theme, “The Entropy of a Small Town” by Thomas K. Carpenter is also about love. Here, a boy able to trade away his memories in order to repair things must confront the car accident that put his lover in a coma. “The Entropy of a Small Town” is well written, and the ostracized gay and family dynamic is an interesting twist, but ultimately the resolution follows the trope, which felt a bit hollow to me.

If you haven’t read this kind of got-to-pay-the-dues stories, you’ll probably like this one. But if you’re familiar with the concept, it may leave you wanting.