Short Story Review: “The Deepwater Bride” by Tamsyn Muir

4 of 5 stars.

Clairvoyants often assume the lonely life of a Cassandra rather than deal with non-believers. It also allows the seer to step away from the horrors they’ve witnessed. But teens often crave acceptance from their peers, or the approval of one idolized individual. This contradiction abrades in this well-constructed tale.

Dozens of generations of Blake women have served as seers of the eldritch omens of Lovecraftian mythos. Every ripple from the Deepsea and Dark Chaos is read in wisps of smoke, the spatters of spittle and errant threads of spider webs. Hester need not even look that deeply as trees weep salt water, dead sharks end up flayed in the tops of trees, and salt rains from the clouds. Something big is happening.

She is meant to merely record what she sees, record her read of it, then document the actuality. But underneath her Goth exterior, she feels the deeper connection to the signs she reads. She even finds a kindred spirit in the family diary:

Underneath in ballpoint was written: Has noboy noticed that Blake crypto-fascist worship of these deities has never helped?? Family of sheeple.

Hester Blake sees that the Underwater Unfed God is rising to take a bride. She follows the signs to a fake-baked teen named Rainbow that acts like a Heather to her Veronica. And yet, Hester wants to be liked by the One Direction-worshiping popular girl. More awkwardly, Rainbow is just as fascinated by Hester . . .

This tale appears in a couple “best of” anthologies. The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 10 edited by Jonathan Strahan, I received from Netgalley. The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2016 edited by Paula Guran, I received directly from Prime Books. The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2016 edited by Rich Horton, I also received directly from Prime Books.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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