Seth Chambers. In Her Eyes. (Fantasy & Science Fiction Jan/Feb 2014)

fsf040102The editorial introduction does mention that the story has ‘mature content’, which is putting it mildly!

It’s an intense story, getting very deep into two psyches. The protagonist is a fairly nondescript museum worker, who meets a young woman and strikes up a conversation with her. She isn’t conventionally pretty – heck, she isn’t even unconventionally pretty, but there’s something in her eyes, and something in her outwardly abrasive personality that he is attracted to. And having become attracted to what’s on the inside, she is able (it being an SF story) to make the outside more conventionally attractive. And, not only is she pretty (in all her incarnations) she is dirty.

There’s some quite lewd language from her mouth (she is keen to proffer him a XXXX that is of top quality, and to have XXXX XXXX the better to XXXX his XXXX), and I’m sure the more easily offended reader will be offended!

Allied to the physical side of the relationship, their interaction, and his reaction to her, and the glimpses we see of her mind, are extremely well-handled, and drive the story forward.

The ending is a clever one, as he finally finds out more about her, and what has been taken from granted by him (and at least by this male reader) is subverted, and leaves him with food for thought, and the reader ditto with regard to the willing acceptance of her role, and the desire for a ‘happy ending’ when the stakes are raised (that being a happy ending for him). I’d be intrigued to read a female take on the story. But it’s a story that you need to decompress from after reading it.

More from this issue.

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