Mysterion, September 2020
“Michael” by Em Liu
Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf
The title of “Michael” by Em Liu is the name taken by an alien who plans to convert to Catholicism. His own name is not only unpronounceable for humans, but the sound of it causes them distress. He meets a woman who agrees to be the sponsor for his conversion. Their relationship leads to an emotional and spiritual crisis. The woman’s struggle to speak the alien’s name is the key to their reconciliation.
This is a quiet, gentle story, but one which examines profound questions of communication and the nature of love. The alien characters are as believable as the human ones, while still remaining intriguingly different from them. The tale’s religious content is subtle, allowing readers to come to their own conclusions about the main character’s conversion.
Victoria Silverwolf had a very minor car accident yesterday, but nobody was hurt.