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Friday, March 7, 2014

"Growlimb" by Michael Shea

First appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction, reprinted in Stephen Jones' Year's Best. It won the World Fantasy award and was nominated for the International Horror Guild Award.

Carl Larken and Marjorie both happen to work at the nonprofit, Humanity, Inc. While she's the rich-liberal-do-gooder-with-nothing-else-to-do-to-keep-boredom-at-bay, he's the uncouth-liberal-oddity in a brambly beard and grey locks, dressed in cut offs. Despite their disparate circumstances, the pair share the wanderer.

Largely well written, the narrative, too, meanders, which suits the work's purpose:
"[T]he idea I want to get across to you, is that's how short your life on this earth will have been, Guy, when you check out a year or so from now. Your whole stay on this glorious green globe will be like that bird's landing and flying off again. It'll hardly have happened at all."
Carl Larken seeks unknown and/or undiscovered gods buried in the earth, seeks signs from them. The reader's not entirely sure if he's sane. Marjorie, meanwhile, trails him, and, horrified, discovers the true  meaninglessness of her marching-along existence in an unfathomable cosmos.

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