Lisa Goldstein. The Catastrophe of Cities. (Asimovs January/February 2017)

An excellent contemporary fantasy from Goldstein.

It’s stylishly written from the outset, intriguing this reader with the opening paragraphs in which the protagonist directly addresses a long-lost friend whom she has been searching for over many year. She describes how unlikely it is that in this Internet-age there can be no trace whatsoever of her online. This leaves a disturbing conclusion, and we follow Beth as she re-visits their childhood home of Los Angeles, and remembers their adventures…

The story revolves around her narration of their childhood visits to strange, mostly deserted houses, and the nature of the relationship between the friends (it’s much more than a Scooby Doo haunted house yarn). What they found in those houses was quite startling, and when Beth revisits those houses as an adult, the mystery of her missing friend is resolved (it’s a doozy of an explanation) and the story ends with Beth bracing herself to effect a rescue…

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