This month’s stories are all sort of past-perfect, for you grammar wonks; all of them involve things the main characters once had.
Polenth Blake’s main character in “Through Amber Eyes” seems to be looking for her past, but, knowing she can’t find it, takes a different route to knowing who she is. I enjoyed this for its emotional appeal and the way it almost slips into magical realism.
Indrapramit Das’s “Kolkata Sea” shows us, through her son’s eyes, a mother who lost her city. (“Kolkata” may be more familiar to Western readers as “Calcutta.”)
Tom Crosshill shows us, in “Sandra Plays for the Cast-Iron Man”, a woman who lost her home — and a robot who also lost something, too. This has an odd poignancy to it, and as someone who loves even some of the otherworldly music of Arnold Schönberg, there was one moment that particularly caught me.
It seemed fitting to include a Classic Flash from Lord Dunsany in this mix, too. “The Watchtower” is also about things past and, perhaps, about things present and future.
Finally, with Bruce Holland Rogers trying to organize his withdrawal from Budapest, I thought it might be interesting to give writers a feeling for how withering criticism can be in the hands of a master: Mark Twain is the Deerslayer-slayer. Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses is bitingly funny, but also a sobering critique that is worth reading for its content as well as its style. And remember, The Deerslayer is considered a classic of American literature. If it can be thus eviscerated and still have merit, I’m sure your writing is better than some people are allowing for as well.
And a special thank-you to R.W. Ware for his original artwork!