Inquisitive by Pip Coen, Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, May/June 2018

This novelet takes place in a dystopian world in which inquisitors can question any member of the public and torture them by removing their memories of friends, family, self, etc.

cov1805lg-250It begins with Saffi, a brilliant, yet socially inept young girl who cannot read peoples’ facial expressions and cannot understand inflection, so will only speak when asked a question.

As the piece progresses, so does Saffi’s understanding of human interaction. Though as someone who judges everything on logical assessments, she is unable to understand why people laugh or smile–ever.

Eventually, she leaves home and seeks to become an inquisitor, though no woman has ever been one before.

On the surface of this piece is a dystopian society that story breaks the mold of having someone rebels, and instead has the main character buy into it. But the deeper subject matter is concerned with glass ceilings, social interaction, love vs logic, and the morality of hoarding educational opportunities. A piece that builds a whole world in a short time, that immerses you and demands to be read. (C+)


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