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

Tor.com -- July 2019

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Tor.com, July 2019

Blood is Another Word for Hungerby Rivers Solomon

For He Can Creepby Siobhan Carroll

Reviewed by Alex Granados

Im more of a science fiction nerd, so when I saw that the two stories on Tor.com this month were fantasy, I wasnt excited. And Ill admit, I went into both of them with a skeptical attitude.

But with varying degrees of success, both of these stories turned me around.

Blood is Another Word for Hungerby Rivers Solomon follows a young slave girl in the southern United States. It starts with a big red flag for me, which is that the entire first paragraph is one long sentence. I consider that an unnecessary flourish and found it very distracting.

The story follows Sully, the girl, who murders her family at the start. It devolves into a creepy tale involving creatures from the netherworld and their peculiar relationship to the girl. If I sound critical, I was, but by the end of the story I was enjoying myself. Sullys journey ends up being a meditation on connection, community and family that juxtaposes Sullys time in slavery with her experience in a new creepy family that, despite how off-putting they are to me as a reader, are accepting and welcoming of her.

For He Can Creep,by Siobhan Carroll is my much preferred story of the two, however.

This is actually a story I put off reading for a while because I thought the premise sounded hokey. It follows a cat named Jeoffry who fights demons. There are two other relevant characters of note: A poet who lives in an insane asylum and the devil.

The devil has plans for the human who Jeoffry wants to protect. And there are machinations between the devil, the poet, Jeoffry, and a bevy of other cats. But what really got me was the way the story followed the interior logic of the cat and how it thought of the world. As a cat lover, that prose was winning for me.

Despite being initially put off by the premise, this story was engaging, adorable, and more weighty than I expected it to be.

At the end of the day, these stories still arent my kind of thing. But if they have premises that might appeal to you, I think youll enjoy them.