Strange Horizons, January 1, 2018

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Strange Horizons, January 1, 2018

“Big Mother” by Anya Ow

Reviewed by Jason McGregor

From the perspective of adulthood, the narrator recounts a tale of youth in which she and her companions went fishing and caught more than they bargained for.

This nostalgic tale yearns faintly for the bad old days of magic and mystery. It’s competently narrated but the segue from mainstream to fantasy feels a little rushed and forced in an otherwise quite slow and relaxed tale. The style, while simple and direct enough, emphasizes the tale’s slower, old-fashioned pace, contrasting with modern speed, which is thematically apt but doesn’t make for the most thrilling reading experience. There are also odd lapses such as the narrator saying, “Replacing my rod with a new line and hook was tricky in the dark” when the intent was probably “Providing my rod with…” or “Replacing my rod’s old line and hook…” or something like. Still, this tale may suit some readers.

More of Jason McGregor’s reviews can be found at Featured Futures.