Strange Horizons, June 6, 2022

[On May 10, 2021 Strange Horizons officially expressed its political support for Palestinian solidarity. The views of Tangent Online reviewers are not necessarily those of Strange Horizons. Fiction critiqued at Tangent Online is, as much as is humanly possible, without prejudice and based solely on artistic merit.]

Strange Horizons, June 6, 2022

“Bee Season” by Michelle Kulwicki

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

The narrator of “Bee Season” by Michelle Kulwicki lives in a near future world devastated by the almost complete loss of the bees necessary for pollination of crops. Only a small enclave exists where the bees still perform their vital function. A mysterious peddler offers a strange substance in exchange for any of the rare bees found outside this area. The substance, when mixed with saliva and ingested, causes the narrator to undergo a bizarre transformation, filling her body with living bees and their products.

This story creates an uneasy balance among realistic science fiction, surrealistic fantasy, and body transformation horror. The characters are appealing, and the author writes well, in a clear, vivid style. The threat to bees is a vital topic, worth exploring in fiction, but the uneven mixture of genres found in this work may make it hard for the reader to appreciate the importance of the theme.

Victoria Silverwolf likes bees.