Strange Horizons, November 14th, 2016
Reviewed by Benjamin Wheeler
Sana, the main character of “The Wreck at the Goat’s Head” by Alexander Manglis and Susie Oh, is still mourning the death of her mother. While diving, she has a vision of her mother swimming to a shipwreck that appeared as she watched. Sana reveals the wreck to the world and enjoys some fame. Despite this, she is still haunted by the vision of her mother. It ends with Sana and her mother sharing a supernatural phone call and Sana finally moving on with her grief.
This is a story about grief and haunting. I was impressed with the descriptions and treatment of the unusual. No characters react what I would consider to be irrationally to their strange experiences. For example, when Sana has a vision of her mother, she is broken up about it and weeps when alone, as she has not yet dealt with her grief. This pushes the realism of the story forward and allows the reader to understand that the story will end up explaining nothing of the mysterious happenings directly. The legend of the first diver, who defended the island by casting its enemies outside time, is quite well done. The description of Sana’s dives are worth the read. This is a solid story with a good grasp of the emotional underpinnings of its characters.