Stories that play together

The wonderful writer Amal El-Mohtar recently started reviewing short fiction for This week, to my delight, she focused on two stories from the recent issue of Lackington’s: Rose Lemberg’s “Stalemate” and my “Bonsaiships of Venus.”

Rose and I did not write these stories together or discuss our submissions; their thematic interplay is a happy accident. As Amal points out, clever editor Ranylt Richildis spotted that interplay and arranged the two stories as bookends in the issue to highlight it.

Here’s Amal:

It brings my editing heart keen delight to appreciate how Richildis paired these stories: that an issue opening with an impasse should end with a resolution, and that a concluding story about art representing life to save it should feel like a Bonsaiship itself—the mirror image of the introductory story in which art is stripped from life in order to protect it.

The review simultaneously made me immensely joyful that the story succeeded (for one reader at least!) in the way I intended, and showed me my story (and Rose’s) in a slightly new light.

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