Strange Horizons, 27 March 2006

Note: This post was imported from an old content-management system, so please excuse any inconsistencies in formatting.

"Wayfaring Girls" by E.L. Chen

"Wayfaring Girls" by E.L. Chen is filled with unexpected turns.  It starts with a tense car ride.  Joyce and Phil are a married couple whose relationship is banging on the rocks, but not quite broken.  A flashback hints at the appearance of a changeling, and the next scene takes place in an odd hotel that carries the couple, on chicken legs, to a dark forest where they fight a dragon, meet a queen, and are faced with an uncomfortable choice.
Chen overturns expectations and twists genre tropes as the couple—with Joyce in the lead—searches for their missing daughter.  Though a fairy tale, this story does an excellent job of tearing down the myth of what a family should be and presents one as they actually are.  I recommend checking it out.