Zenna Henderson. Pottage. (Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1955)

Read in Judith Merril’s The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy, 1956.

One of a series of stories in Henderson’s ‘The People’ series, featuring an alien race, indistinguishable from humans and living amongst us, typically in small remote communities, hiding their special abilities and remaining incognito. Not a story series I was aware of TBH.

Here a young female teacher teaches a class of these children (evidently a recurrent motif in these stories) and (what are the odds of this?) she has previous knowledge and contact with The People (presumably a prior story). She decides to work on the children, to encourage them to no longer suppress their talents or their hidden (race) memories.

The story as a singleton didn’t really work for me as it read so much as part of a series.

Probably the first story I’ve read by her, but she makes a couple more appearances in other Year’s Best volumes, so mayhap I will read another in The People series in the years to come… [2022 update : I have just realised that she was the author of ‘Food to all Flesh’ in Edmund Crispin’s ‘Stars & Under’ anthology, which I read at school, and was blown away by several of the stories therein, hers included.]

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