Blue Morphos in the Garden by Lis Mitchell

Blue Morphos in the Garden by Lis Mitchell
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (22 pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Read Lis Mitchell’s magical realist tale, Blue Morphos in the Garden, a original short story. When Vivian and her daughter witness the family matriarch die without leaving a corpse, Vivian can no longer ignore the family “gift” or the choice that lies before her.

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The twist in this tale was something I’ve never seen in this genre before. It had to do with what happens to all of the members of a special family after they die. While the first scene does explain about how their deaths are different from the deaths of ordinary humans, I honestly can’t go into any more detail about it than that without giving away spoilers. Let’s just say that it was hauntingly beautiful and is best discovered by new readers without any additional hints.

I was highly impressed with the character development, especially given the fact that the author had less than two dozen pages to work with here. Vivian and her partner both had well-rounded personalities that revealed themselves early on and quickly began to evolve as a result of both of their reactions to the latest death in the family. This couldn’t have been better written, and it’s made me curious to read more from Ms. Mitchell as soon as possible.

The world building was well done, too. Vivian’s extended family has lived on the same property for generations without revealing their secret to the surrounding community. Every nook and cranny of their land is filled with references to those who lived there in the past. I was as fascinated by the references to the lives of everyone who had once lived there as I was by the fact that they’d been able to keep such a big secret for so long. All of these little details created a setting that felt three-dimensional and real.

Blue Morphos in the Garden was one of the best science fiction short stories I’ve read so far this year. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

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