The Properties of Shadow by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, May/June 2018

This piece of SF is a rarity in the genre due to the fact it doesn’t focus on a normal archetypal character like the hero, explorer, or rebel. Instead, this piece focuses on the assistant of an installation artist. Thing is, they are both aliens. . . or, that is, not human.

cov1805lg-250The artist the narrator works for repurposes old scrap, and what the art typically looks like is something of a mystery to this reader, but this artist has been quite successful and as the narrator and the artist scrounge for scrap, a paparazzi type of character shows up.

While the concept seems a bit, well, boring, this piece thrives on the interesting alien concept of the narrator. See, the narrator is some kind of shadow creature that can use shadow vision, coak itself in shadow, and even lay shadow seedlings in a sentient creature’s shadow in order to reproduce, which is exactly what the narrator as done. The narrator has put 3 eggs or seeds or whatever, in the shadow of the artist. These young, though insubstantial, seedlings feed off the artists creativity and life force. It’s an intriguing concept, one I hope this author goes more in-depth with, as I could imagine this character having a much longer, more complex story to tell. (C+)


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