Review of Kij Johnson’s “At the Mouth of the River of Bees” Published in OSU’s The Journal
August 3, 2012 § 2 Comments
Check out the current issue of The Journal, Ohio State University’s literary magazine, for my review of Kij Johnson’s collection of short stories, At the Mouth of the River of Bees, due out this fall from Small Beer Press.
Whether we debate fantasy fiction and sci-fi as literary (or not) due to audience or due to certain tropes, I can assure you that Kij Johnson’s collection eschews easily fitting itself into our expectations of either category. Well, there is the odd alien. But consider, for example, “The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change,” a unsettling speculative tale in which household pets have suddenly been granted the gift of speech. Owners, fearing what follows the advent of speech and thus, argument, get rid of their dogs en masse. The story is told from the point of view of Linna, a girl who studies a group of newly-strayed dogs in her local park, and observes their budding folklore, a slew of trickster tales that are as haunting, funny, and both defiant of and compliant with traditional form as any story in the collection itself. “The Evolution of Trickster Tales” defies a neat label—it’s speculative fiction at its unnerving best, as well as an illuminating lens on the tradition of folklore and its power.
You can read the full review in the current issue of The Journal, which can be procured on the subscription page of The Journal‘s newly re-designed website. At the Mouth of the River of Bees will be available on August 14th from Small Beer Press.