“How to Confront the Sphinx Haunting Your Garden” by Alexei Collier
Reviewed by Chuck Rothman
Flash Fiction Online’s June issue has three genre stories.
“How to Confront the Sphinx Haunting Your Garden” by Alexei Collier is written as a series of instructions in a world where Sphinxes are common enough occurrences to warrant one. Its mostly a series of suggestions that depend on the imagery and language to make it work. But the descriptions and images are poetic and first rate and the ultimate result is very successful.
Marie Clementel‘s “Sine, cosine” has a protagonist who is in the hospital. He is there to help his lover, who suffers from a painful nerve disease. This new cure allows the pain of the disease to be taken on by someone else. The central metaphor of sine and cosine is a striking one, showing how two people in love care for each other, but I found the story a bit murky.
“Fairy-Tale Ending” by Beth Goder tells of Immer, some sort of moon goddess who uses her hair as a net to snare life from it to eat. But she catches something different this time: a human. Nice poetic language but it’s mostly just describing the situation, and it doesn’t give a solution, other than to hint at Immer’s origin.
The flash fiction in this issue definitely leans toward the literary. While I find the writing strong, I think it does weaken any visceral impact of the stories.