Saturday, August 29, 2015

When It Ends, He Catches Her, by Eugie Foster

Daily Science Fiction, September 2014
http://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/fairy-tales/eugie-foster/when-it-ends-he-catches-her

This is a story that would have been on the 2015 Hugo ballot but for the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies slating.

Aisa is a dancer, or former dancer, dancing on an empty stage in an abandoned, decaying theater. She's dancing one of her favorite leading roles, except that in the last dance number, she should be dancing with partner, who is not there. The final, triumphant leap must be omitted, because Balege is not there to catch her.

And then there is applause from an audience of one.

The time and place are not clear. What is clear is that this is a society in collapse. Many have died; many are starving. Aisa is hungry. But Balege is there now; he's got the death plague, but they dance again. And Balege prods her memory,

There's a quiet horror here, as we discover what the real conditions are. There's also a victory of love, in the face of it.

Recommended.