We all know that you should not judge a book, or a person, by its cover. But sometimes covers can be misleading, especially if you all-knowingly assume you know what you’re getting. That’s how I ended up with Shadow Show a book of short stories in celebration of Ray Bradbury not a book of short stories written by Ray Bradbury.
So that happened. The cover was misleading in my haste to request books from the library online before the weekend last Thursday, I added it to my list thinking that I knew what I was getting (I did not). Yet the short stories in Shadow Show are written by famous authors we all know and love (Alice Hoffman, Joe hill, Harlan Ellison, Audrey Niffenegger, Margaret Atwood and more) so really this wasn’t a lose situation. It was very much a win.
So in honor of my blog turning two this year (!) I’ll be reinstating Science Fiction Friday and sharing some of these lovely stories with you over the next few weeks, starting now:
“Backward in Seville” by Audrey Niffenegger
Helene and her recently widowed father Lewis are on a cruise in Spain; a cruise that Lewis and his late wife, Helen’s mother, Nora were supposed to have gone on together until her untimely death earlier that year. Helene is trying her best to be happy for the sake of her father, but the absence of her mother is heavy around her.
As the small cruise ship they travel on backs in and out of the canals in Seville, gliding slowly over the water, she wishes the world would also go backwards in time; so her mom wouldn’t have died, so the man she had been in love with wouldn’t have left her, so everything could be different. The abundance of older couples on the cruise are certainly not helping her distract her mind. As the small cruise ship passes underneath bridges, a small and almost unnoticeable change occurs and Helene is overjoyed, both for her father’s new freedom and for her own answered prayers.
I loved how this story crept slowly along, much like a gentle ship on the water. As the ship meanders through the water we learn about Helene’s personal life and desires in bits and pieces between her travels around Seville, making the climax at the very end of the story that much unexpected and impactful. More from Shadow Show next week!