Strange Horizons — June 17, 2019

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Strange Horizons, June 17, 2019

Many-Hearted Dog and the Heron Who Stepped Past Time” by Alex Yuschik

Reviewed by Jody Dorsett

Heron and Dog are an interesting team of assassins/kidnappers/thieves; basically, using their skills in fighting for money. Dog has a set of hearts, states of intensity, that can be removed from his chest. Heron, they have the ability to dance through time and space and the multiple realities that can happen. When I first started reading I was concerned that this was another attempt to write a story using genderless words, but it isn’t and the use of “they” as a gender pronoun for they is very important.
Dog is rooted in a set time line while Heron can skip between time and locations. They need an anchor so as not to be lost among the time threads. The characterizations are well done and the story is only truly apparent at the end. Normally this is the type of story I dislike; I won’t share why as it would reveal too much of the beauty of the story and about me.
One theme in this story is about the importance of partnership. That requires trust, respect and, most importantly, forgiveness. I would highly recommend this story even to dyed in the wool hard SF readers. You won’t be disappointed.