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Saturday, April 5, 2014

"My Darling Hecate" by Wyman Guin

First appeared in H.L. Gold's Beyond Fantasy Fiction. Reprinted by Joseph D. Olander, Martin Harry Greenberg, and Barry N. Malzberg.  

In 2013, Wyman Guin was awarded the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award "to honour notable sf and fantasy authors who in the view of the judging panel did not receive or no longer receive the attention they deserve."  --SFE

This appeared in a conceptually interesting anthology, Neglected Visions, which highlights under-highlighted writers.  It honed me in on writers I might not have otherwise.

Before the TV program, Bewitched, was "My Darling Hecate".  Like many boys unable to express their attraction, the narrator throws a snowball at his future wife.  It veers and breaks a school window, which he has to pay for.  After this happens a second time, he suspects he's got a wicked curve-ball.

After he's married, he starts driving a young lady with him to and from work (at his wife's suggestion).  Some initial messing-around but they knock it off.  The town of Clearview gossips, embarrassing the wife, particularly.  When she decides the pair have done nothing she decides it's the town that has to go.  Twilight Zone moments follow--not only the missing town, but what it's replaced with.  A satisfying and somewhat surprising if undramatic ending.  An overall strong tale although a few moments wane in power.

This might be an interesting tale for gender studies.  On the one hand, it seems pretty well grounded in its culture.  On the other, it suggests acceptance of more contemporary mores (anticipating 60s counter-culture).  On the third hand (you have more than two, right?), nothing is laid at the Hecate's feet.  It's all the protagonist's fault.

Edition:  Beyond Bedlam and Other Stories by Wyman Guin

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