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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Strange Horizons, February 5, 2018

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Strange Horizons, February 5, 2018

Her Beautiful Body” by Adrienne Celt

Reviewed by Christos Antonaros

In “Her Beautiful Body” by Adrienne Celt we become part of an unusual audience, either of an extraterrestrial nature or an evolved humankind in the distant future. Before us, a woman has donated her body after her death, and now is a rare attraction on tour where only the lucky ones, like we, may observe. The presenter of the exhibit dares us to touch her beautiful body, play with it, and feel its unique capabilities. Around her body, we see her items, the things she used to have when she was alive. Every item serves to further reveal her story and gives her a purpose beyond satisfying our curiosity for a piece of humanity; a trait we have lost.

By taking part in the exhibit, and not only to stay back and watch, we also become collaborators in the profound exploitation of human nature. Our urge to touch, feel, and recall our long-forgotten humanity makes us question the creatures we have become. Through rhetorical questions and meaningful images, we are reminded that female beauty might be a gift from nature, but the body also contains a soul, and, if not now, but at some point in its existence it deserved more than just to satisfy other people’s desires.

With all the sexual harassment scandals that are coming out almost daily, we need to be reminded that we, as an audience, are also responsible for the public and private exploitation of the female form. We need to open our eyes and look at the image we are offered, search for the story and appreciate the woman inside that adds to her outward beauty. Her beautiful body is a gift from nature but belongs to her. She gets to decide what to do with it, and her scars are and should be, the result of her mistakes.