James Patrick Kelly. Sing, Pilgrim! (Fantasy & Science Fiction Nov/Dec 2013)

fsf13112It’s a long time since I’ve read a story by Kelly, and I was anticipating the story at the back of this issue, thinking it was the last story and about 20 pages long. Imagine my disappointment when I got to it and realised that it was the penultimate story and only three pages! D’oh!

‘Every age gets the chair that it deserves’ is the key sentence to the story, I reckon. Although working out where the key goes is another matter.

Kelly postulates an old-fashioned chair appearing in a bank. With tongue in cheek, Kelly explains ‘..some semioticians … have argued that its construction is a modality that encodes the chair’s ultimate meaning..’

The chair is unmovable, although what does move is the person who sits in the chair, who immediately begins to sign a song (a random, only ever sung once in the chair), appears to go through a state of bliss, and disappears. Forever. And there are no shortage of people willing to sit in the chair.

And pretty much, that’s all he wrote.

But he wrote it nicely, and like the story pondering the nature of the chair, the reader is left pondering the nature of the story. The Rapture sponsored by La-Z-Boy?

More about this issue of F&SF here, and browse recent issues of F&SF here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like these