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Saturday, April 5, 2014

"Another Range of Mountains" by Megan E. O'Keefe

First appeared in WotF 30. Author website.

This tale may lead the anthology as the style may remind readers of old-school writers such as Anne McCaffrey. The story's strength is its play with the speculative play on mirrors and drawing.  Lacra can see past events inside mirrors--reflections actually.  Tatya has been kidnapped, and Lacra is on the case.  The criminals know this and have pulverized the mirror.  Nontheless, she finds a small shard at the scene and captures part of the man--enough to follow and find out that he, too, is a mirrorpainter and has laid a trap for her.

While fascinating, the idea development isn't always clear, which may be due to this being part of a novel or series. At least, it suggests a larger world--a fine attribute in itself.  Some idea development is left unstated, which can be  intriguing if the readers can catch on, but if not explained, it leaves the readers with questions like "Why?".  From late in the story:
"He would have to reveal it to himself.  Asking her to force that day upon him was just too much."
"It" refers to the painting, I think, although the last referent is blanket which wouldn't make sense. I can usually roll with what the author is up to, but this one juggles several speculative balls that go up without coming back down.  But I'm pointing out the "too much" here--what and why is that too much?

The text and dialogue can be a little too "on the nose.":
"The next memories to flow through were a torrent of rage, guilt, pain."
Modern writers are loathe to name emotion (i.e. "Show, don't tell" or William Carlos Williams' "No ideas but in things."), but naming emotions has been a long if limited literary tradition in centuries past--not to mention rather common in genre fiction. This is different, though. Genre have pulled this trick many times, but it's difficult to name emotions without pinning them to an image.

Nonetheless, readers may seek more of this imaginative world in future anthologies.

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