Short Story Review: “The Long, Cold Goodbye” by Holly Phillips

2 of 5 stars.

This is a different sort of apocalyptic tale. A land is in its sunset, freezing to the point of no return. Those who could flee, fled. The rest are doing what they do until they die: dancing, drinking, despairing.

Berd searches for Sele, her elusive lifelong friend, but he’s a hard one to pin down. She’s also seeing things, perhaps due to the slow death of freezing. Ghosts and polar bears; witches and ice giants. She also sees a suicide–but that’s likely real. She sees her friends frozen stiff when she looks at them, but they move when she doesn’t. And they get around, to new places to be frozen.

The language of this slow demise, is bordering on exquisite. Unfortunately, the plot is a quandary. For much of the tale, I thought maybe Berd was dead–as that would explain her warped perceptions. But no, its just not clear what’s going on.

This tale was included in the anthology The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2010 edited by Paula Guran.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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