Review: “The Litany of Earth” by Ruthanna Emrys

4 of 5 stars.

Drawing from the canon of Lovecraft’s lore of the transmorphic mer of Innsmouth, this thoughtful story shows the uneasy social re-integration of post-concentration camp survivors.

Like the few surviving Jews and queers of occupied Europe, Aphra Marsh emerges from an American concentration camp after 17 years, a desiccated version of herself. She saw her father shot to death, her mother taken away never to be seen alive again–likely experimented on. Her family house was stripped of its books, ie memories and culture. Her people [the transmorphic mer of Innsmouth] are gone. Dead.

She finds a new, anonymous life in San Francisco at a bookstore that contains a small remnant population of books in her native tongue. Her people are still feared and misunderstood after all of this time. The government that perpetuated the genocide is looking for any cultural remnants and dubbing it extremist. And there are the fakers, the people without historic or cultural ties to Marsh and her people that pick and choose and misinterpret the old cultural canon in a cult-ish way . . .

“The Litany of Earth” appears in New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird edited by Paula Guran after originally appearing in Tor.com, May 14, 2014.
 
 
 
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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