Short Story Review: “The Broad Sky Was Mine, And the Road” by Ryan Row

3 of 5 stars.

Apocalypses come in many flavors, but they all speak to the struggle for survival and the toll it takes on the survivors. The post-apocalypses with remnants of society often chronicle the attempts to hold onto or redefine society. But others don’t even have that much left leaving a landscape of loners potentially fighting the battle to remain civilized.

This tale shows a day in the life of David and Samantha in a particularly fantastical, post-apocalyptic world in which most people died, or succumbed to a zombie pandemic, or progressed through the zombie stages to full-blown nuclear reactor of human-magma. Despite the pairing and hints of other survivors, David has descended into a PTSD poetic-philosophical mindset in which he loses his grip on past-and-present, real-and-imagined. In an echo to his deceased father, David spawns random rules by the minute to micro-motivate himself through every tight situation. This is his survivor strategy getting him through every scrape. Samantha maintains her social instincts, unlike David who reflects the charred Midwestern landscape they scour.

This contest-winning tale appears in Writers of the Future 32 edited by David Farland. It’s illustrated
by contest-winning artist, Jonas Spokas. I received this new anthology from Netgalley.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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