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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Strange Horizons, December 5, 2011

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Strange Horizons, December 5, 2011

“Penelope Napolitano and the Butterflies” by Aliya Whiteley

Reviewed by Kevin R. Tipple

No one really wants to become their parent once that early childhood stage of idolizing parents is over.  However, despite every effort not to be anything like the people who raised you, it slowly happens. The change into your parent is subtle and often you aren’t aware of it as it insidiously creeps over you. One day you realize you are your mother or your father and it is done. It is too late to change once it has happened.

In “Penelope Napolitano and the Butterflies” by Aliya Whiteley, Penelope is aware of the danger and most definitely does not want to become her mother. For her, it is a huge fear and one that haunts her. That all-encompassing fear is her first thought, almost simultaneously with saying yes, when Tim proposes marriage to her in a hot air balloon high above the Colorado Rockies. Fortunately the migrating Monarch butterflies will offer another way.

A strangely interesting story to kick off the December fiction at Strange Horizons. Writing about self-discovery can be very tricky. British author Aliya Whiteley pulls it off in this tale while making the reader think.