Back to Shimmer to check out the second half of the bi-monthly publication's twenty-third issue. Two stories, both with the style that makes Shimmer so fun to read. So let's begin!
"Be Not Unequally Yoked" by Alexis A. Hunter (6627 words)
The tale of an young Amish horse-shifter trying to figure out a way to be, this story made me stop and step back a moment. Because there's a lot going on. Joash is part man, part mare. That his horse-self is female is an interesting thing, and one that kind of plays into the idea that he has a feminine side that he's not exactly allowed to express, one that is powerful and freeing but that he is deeply ashamed of. And part of that, though not all of it I hope, plays into the fact that he is gay (or at least bi and more attracted now to other men). And, being Amish, that's another thing that isn't allowed, that he has to sort of make his choice on. And while at first he wants only to sacrifice himself for his family, to bury the part of him that doesn't fit, he also knows that it's not something he can really control. The metaphor works and I like that he's inspired to try to find a place to belong, and that the story doesn't take some of the easier routes. But Joash's yearning and hunger feels very real, very potent, and makes this quite a emotional story, Joash being pulled by his family, by his religion and culture to bury that part of himself, but not being able to. It's not an incredibly happy story, in part because Joash is not well equipped to strike out on his own, and while the ending might be him deciding to try, it's hard not to imagine him meeting some misfortune on the way. Like with many young men leaving home because of who they are, the path is not an easy one. But as the story doesn't go there, it's a great piece that hits hard.
"Monsters in Space" by Angela Ambroz (4905 words)
I'm going to say that the best thing about this story is the amazing voice of the main character. Louise is irreverent and brash and all sorts of hyper and a product of the times when people are driven to embrace multitasking and not thinking about things too much and buying all the things. It's a fun main character because she's going about a mile a minute and just can't be bothered about most things. It's a fun story, too, taking place on the moon Titan and dealing mostly with economics and workers' rights. And wait, that sounds much more boring than this story is. It's fun and free and just goes and keeps going in that same fun tone throughout. Even when things hit the fan and everything blows up in Louise's face (quite literally). Through it all she maintains her forward momentum, not really concerned about where she's going as that she going. It's a fast-paced, humorous story that made me smile, and for that I quite enjoyed it.