Short Story Review: “We Are Not These Bodies, Strung Between the Stars” by A. C. Wise

3 of 5 stars.

Drawing heavily from Lovecraft’s universe, this tale makes greater use of the unknown and outre than clear timeline and plot. The universe is/has fractured for all time: past, present, and future. And, all places. For better or for worse, hundreds of thousands of sentient cultures from across the aeons and universe have melded. Earth is a wasteland of lost cities, strange creatures, and truly alien weather phenomena. The humans[?] seen are of morphing gender and body type, distorted facial features, webbed extremities . . .

John narrates this confused, circular tale. Despite all the weirdness that he’s experienced, he worries about Zee who’s riddled with cancer from one cause or another. He loves Zee:

Would it be so bad, just once, to say “I love you” out loud? Fuck embarrassment. Fuck not hearing it in return. What could it hurt for Zee to know one person cares about them more than anything in the world? The knowledge could be like a smooth stone to take out of their pocket and look at and think, “well there’s that: I am loved”.

But every time I open my mouth, my tongue trips on the image of Zee looking at me like I’ve put an incredible burden on their shoulders. It’s a look of pity, and one that says “Why would you tell me this thing when you know you can’t possibly hear it in return? Why would you make me feel like a guilty sack of shit for hurting my best friend?”

I’ve previously reviewed Wise’s “And the Carnival Leaves Town” and “Letters to a Body on the Cusp of Drowning”. This tale appears in Whispers of the Abyss 2: The Horrors That Were and Shall Be edited by Kat Rocha. I received this new anthology directly from 01 Publishing through bookreviewdirectory.wordpress.com.
 
 
 
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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2 responses to “Short Story Review: “We Are Not These Bodies, Strung Between the Stars” by A. C. Wise

    • I didn’t find this tale all that emotionally moving, actually. I found myself wanting more, but it was quite distant as a function of its otherworldliness. The quote from above was about as emotionally connected as I could find in the piece to sell the personal angle which was heavily downplayed.

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