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In which Lois Tilton reviews ‘The Dark’, Issue 8 (Spoiler: it’s a big thumbs-up!)

The Dark Issue 8This has been an eventful week in the world of Writer Lisa (also in the world of Academic Lisa, but that’s another, less exciting, story). This week kicked off with the arrival of Clarkesworld: Year Seven, then was swiftly followed by the arrival of Blood Sisters, and at the same time — though I was a bit slow to post about it — the most recent issue of The Dark came out, which includes my story ‘A Shot of Salt Water’ (not to mention, a creeeeeeeeepy cover by Angus Yi!)

I’m so looking forward to getting stuck into these stories:

“The Ghost of You Lingers” by Kevin McNeil
“An Ocean of Eyes” by Cassandra Khaw
“A Shot of Salt Water” by Lisa L. Hannett
“Momentary Sage” by Eric Schwitzgebel

Head on over here to read this issue.

Then, I awoke this morning to discover that Lois Tilton has reviewed this issue for Locus — and has most excellent things to say about it! The review kicks off with “The best fiction this time comes from The Dark, which is free from the taint of sentimentality that I find all too frequently in the other publications” and continues by examining each of the stories, including a recommendation for my piece (!!!!):

While I enjoyed all the stories in the issue, this one is my clear favorite. The setting is a fishing village with a strange heritage, where brine as well as blood flows in their veins, where the young women take ship every year for voyages of adventure and reveling while the men stay home and tend to the children their mermaids bring home. Their return is always cause for celebration.

The shore party leapt overboard, hauled tired skiffs from hard-packed to soft sand. Their hair was dreadlocked, rimed with spray. Ten months at sea had staved in their cheeks, chiselled the roundness from hips and breasts. Blubber-treated packs were slung cross-body, leaving their arms free for fighting. Several hefted short-swords, others had daggers—though weapons weren’t needed for this landing. There were no screams at the seafarers’ approach, no terror at the sight of harpoons. Instead a baritone chorus whooped its greetings, singing tunes that beckoned them, one and all, inland.

Billy Rideout has been especially anxious for their return because his own lass, Beetie, has been gone on her first voyage. He’s now dismayed to find that she’s come back with a baby, and when he gets his first look at the bub, he knows it can’t be his own. It’s much more than a matter of webbed fingers and toes, or a bit of gill-slit. According to custom, none of that matters. It shouldn’t matter to Billy. But it does.

What I’m most pleased with here is the colorful language; it makes the setting glow vividly and the characters leap off the page. I’m also liking the hippocampus reference, as the seahorse is notable for the father’s care of the young after birth.

–RECOMMENDED

*dances dances dances*

Read the full review over here.

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