Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pin Pricks and Dangerous Weather

There's a dialogue between two women, one perhaps a predator, the other a victim, and some of the dialogue takes the form of vivid, frightening dreams. It's a good new Caitlin R. Kiernan story in the new Sirenia Digest that came out a few days ago called "The Line Between the Devil's Teeth".

Caitlin's stories in her Digest often take the form of dialogues between characters and they often involve the supernatural and strange sex but within these parameters there's great and surprising variety, even as she seems to continually seek new routes to explore compulsive guilt and attraction. This particular story takes a very familiar supernatural creature and recontextualises it quite beautifully, creating an atmosphere around this character that's focused and at the same time pointedly ranges to different stories within the story, one of the women conjuring for the other an effectively described sailing vessel in a stormy sea. In the end, it has the effect of an eerie lullaby, like a Brian Eno song in prose.

The new Digest also includes a story by a writer named Madeira Darling called "The Ugly Place". It's a nice S&M fantasy that plays with concepts of gender transition and transgression in nicely simple ways. It's about a man called Mother who seems to be performing some kind of painful ritual or surgery on a woman. It put me in mind of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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