A clever, layered story from Rambo. The mermaids of the title are something new to market – aimed at children, they are genetically modified little aquatic creatures that can be bred rapidly, cute things that look very like little mermaid princesses (all female mind you!) not like the Sea Monkey marine shrimps of 50s/60s/70s advertising.
A starter set is given to Petra by her estranged husband, who has developed them, as a gift to their daughter. They are not long broken-up, and she, an artist, is finding her feet, both emotionally and professionally. We follow her through the next few days as she sets up her breeding colony. She is intrigued by them, the roles that each has been bred to fulfill.
And there is her professional life to address, in a slight slump, with a show at a gallery cancelled at short notice. Petra meets with a couple of friends over coffee, but there’s a sting in the tail of female solidarity at the end.
So altogether a very assured and believable story about people, relationships, and gender.
More from this issue of Asimov’s here.