Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Colors of the Immortal Palette, by Caroline M. Yoachim

Uncanny Magazine, March 2021

Mariko's mother was Japanese, and her mother French, and she has grown up in 19th century France, becoming an artist's model and an artist when Claude Monet and Èdouard Manet are active. She sits most often for the man she refers to as "the immortal artist," and by "immortal," she does not mean his fame will never die. She wants to be immortal as an artist, and also simply immortal, and persuades him to help her transition to the second sort of immortality.

We get episodes of her life, headlined by a dominant color, as she matures, transitions to immortality, loses friends to old age, and struggles for artistic fame. Her meetings with the immortal artist grow less frequent, as their ideals and values drift apart.

Also, she's growing stronger and more confident, while he is getting tired of the struggle to adapt.

It's an interesting story, but I couldn't warm to it. Mariko is the only fully realized character in it. Even Joshua, who ought to be a wonderful character for his effect on Mariko, is disappointingly flat.

It's worth reading, and I'm not surprised that many people like it better than I do, but for me, it doesn't quite work.

I received this novelette as part of the 2022 Hugo Finalists Packet, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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