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

Strange Horizons -- May 7, 2018

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Strange Horizons, May 7, 2018

"We Feed the Bears of Fire and Ice" by Octavia Cade

Reviewed by Mike Wyant, Jr.

"We Feed the Bears of Fire and Ice" is a beautifully haunting piece about climate change. The narrative structure is loose; a tale told by the author in a not-too-far-flung future where the reality of our current choices tear the world asunder in a two-pronged storm of hubris.

The story here has less to do with narrative and everything to do with awareness and change. Cade reaches into your chest and pulls out your heart, then asks: "how much does this cost?" It's a terrifyingly honest look at how our choices affect the world and, subsequently, what will likely happen if we don't make changes now.

In the end, Cade seems to posit that, because of our pride and purposeful ignorance, even we will disappear. A recurring phrase throughout the piece seems to sum up Cade's prediction about humanity's future:  "Organisms that can’t adapt to changing conditions should just die."

By the end of the story, it's hard to think she's wrong, at least in our case.

Mike Wyant, Jr. is an ex-IT guy, who has finally committed to a writing life out in the Middle of Nowhere, New York.