Monday, February 22, 2010

The Late Night Train

Short Story by Kate Wilhelm

Another great short story in this issue of F&SF. Strongly reminded me of The Bird Painter in Time of War, one of my favorites of Asimov's from last year. I guess I'm a sucker for unhappy, ambiguous, maybe-fantastic-but-probably-not endings.

Christy is a 30 year old woman, living with and taking care of her elderly parents. Her father has always been abusive, but a recent stroke made him even more angry. Their miserable existence is well described and the characterization of the dysfunctional family is excellent. The ending is dark, yet emotionally satisfying and the fact that we can't be sure if it is fantastic, mundane, or the first crack in the character's sanity (both?) makes it even stronger for me. 4.5 out of 5.

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