Tangent Online

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Diabolical Plots #43, September 2018

E-mail Print

Diabolical Plots #43, September 2018

Glass in Frozen Time” by M.K. Hutchins

The Fisher in the Yellow Afternoon” by Michael Anthony Ashley

Reviewed by Tara Grímravn

September’s Diabolical Plots offerings consist of two short stories.

Glass in Frozen Time” by M.K. Hutchins

A superheroine suffering from PTSD deals with being on mandatory leave. Hutchins’ premise is an interesting one. I would think it a rarity for any fan of comic books or superheroes, in general, to consider the effect that fighting supervillains might have on them. Superheroes, after all, are simply supposed to be unbreakable. They’re a form of “other” and that means that they aren’t supposed to be susceptible to the same weaknesses as the rest of us.

But that’s exactly what made me enjoy this story. Had it not been for the superhero angle, I don’t think I’d have liked it. The domestic scene would have been a little too boring on its own.

The Fisher in the Yellow Afternoon” by Michael Anthony Ashley

A woman meets an unusual bear beside a river. I liked that Ashely chose to write the story in the second person. It’s something you don’t see very often. Ashley’s story provides a rather novel glimpse into the afterlife and the character of Death. His choice to portray Death as a giant bear fishing souls out of a river was definitely attention grabbing. By the end, I was wondering if it was loosely inspired by something like a Native American legend or perhaps a twist on the ancient Egyptian goddess Ammit.

The story is so well written that I was fully engrossed in the narrative. The pacing is quick and kept me moving forward. The situation the protagonist faces in the afterlife as she attempts again and again to return to the world of the living is quite imaginative. Those particular scenes when she does manage to get back into her body, if only for a few moments, were really poignant. This really is a story worth reading.