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

Strange Horizons -- August 19, 2019

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Strange Horizons, August 19, 2019

Invisible and Dreadful” by S.R. Mandel

Reviewed by Jody Dorsett

Carrie is a Westerner studying at a university in Japan. She is has two friends who she spends time with; Yumi and Kazu. She is having trouble deciding her thesis topic, in fact, she’s having trouble deciding a lot of things. She’s uncertain of which pronoun to use with Kazu and what her exact feelings are for Yumi and whether she will return those feelings to Carrie.

Oddly enough, this story examines the exact things I spoke about in my last review. They go to the shrine of Murasaki Shikibu to seek wisdom and inspiration from her. Lady Murasaki was the author of the 11th century novel Tale of Genji. Genji was a demoted prince who did all the things and had all the adventures that a lady of the court couldn’t in 11th century Japanese Imperial court.

Context always brings things into sharper focus and that’s what happens here. This tale is worth the time to read it.