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Thursday, January 2, 2014

"Mrs. Lincoln's China" by M. Shayne Bell

First appeared in Isaac Asimov's.  Reprinted in Isaac Asimov's Mother's Day.  It was nominated for the Asimov's Reader's Poll, Hugo, Locus, and Nebula Awards and was collected in How We Played the Game in Salt Lake.

This  is a simple, quiet apocalyptic tale--at least within the tale.  Gunfire erupts around the narrator, but she spends much of the tale barricaded inside her apartment.  Amidst looting and ransacking of the nation's capital, the narrator, a mother, attempts to save Mrs. Lincoln's china.  Mothers often try to save something of family history to pass on, so that when children are grown and care about such things, they have something to look at.

The narrator, though, is something special.  She wants to keep something for later generations of America.  Things don't go as planned, but she perhaps finds the greater treasure.

Interestingly, a minor correction is taken out of the collection.  The original mentioned an AC/DC reunion concert, which the mother merely names as "some concert" in the collection.  Likely, the change reflects more of her POV and doesn't date the story.

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