[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, November 7, 2022
Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf
In “Sister, Silkie, Siren, Shark” by M. A. Blanchard, young seal-women are taken aboard ships by human men, lose their furry outer skins, are impregnated, and then taken back to their island home with their daughters. (Those bearing male children are taken elsewhere, not revealed in the story.) The narrator discovers a way to change this cycle.
There is an effectively moody, myth-like feeling to this story, with a strong sense of the mysteries of the sea. The plot might be interpreted as a feminist response to male dominance over women, although this is not blatant. The implication is that the repeating pattern of abduction, pregnancy, and return has been going on for a very long time. The reader may wonder why the narrator is, apparently, the first one of her kind to figure out a way to end it.
Victoria Silverwolf admires the alliteration in this story’s title.