Review of Pocosin by Ursula Vernon

Here’s installment number two in my short story review series. Click here to see the rest and enjoy.

Title: Pocosin
Author: Ursula Vernon
Magazine: Apex Magazine
Publication date: 1/6/15
Genre: Fantasy
Wordcount: 5,000
Rating out of 5: 4.5

Pocosin by Ursula Vernon

reviewed by Bryan Perkins

“The preacher laughed. He had a gorgeous, church–organ laugh and Maggie’s heart clenched like a fist in her chest at the sound. She told her heart to behave. Witchblood ought to know better than to hold out hope of heaven.”

Maggie Grey was born old and she grew cynical. She’s a witch who’s been settling other people’s fights for too long now. All she wants is a little time to herself. She’s no quitter, she knows that what she does is necessary, she is a witch after all, but are a few weeks alone to drink whiskey, tie fishing flies, and stare at the pond too much to ask?

Pocosin presents itself as a modern fable complete with a possum god, the God, the Devil, and Death herself, all personified. What initially seems to be a simple fairy tale, driving toward a well-worn commentary on human interaction with nature, becomes instead a treatise on what it means to be a woman. Maggie, sitting on the porch with her grandmother Death, venting about her frustrations, says four words which make this theme all the more obvious and which drove me to give the story a second reading: “Ain’t I a witch?”

Maggie Grey is a witch like Sojourner Truth is a woman. And though witchkind has been dealing with these same issues for so long, though Maggie is sick and tired of stupid, sick and tired “of taking care of things, over and over, and having to do it again the next day,” she knows she has no choice but to carry on. All she asks for is a few weeks alone with her whiskey and fishing flies, the world can get on fine without her for such a short time.

END

Read the story here. See more reviews of short stories here.

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Onyxis the Stone

Back again today with a throwback to some of my older work. This is one of my early takes on a modern day fable–this one a retelling of a story you probably recognize. Since I’ve been working on more fables lately I thought I’d share this older one with you. It took me forever to format because WordPress doesn’t like indentations and Google docs doesn’t like poetry–also why I had to take out the line numbers–but it came out legible so here it is.

[And here’s a link to the version with line numbers if you’re into that sort of thing.]

Enjoy.

length: 244 lines

If you enjoyed that, click here for more fables.