The Weather by Caighlan Smith

The Weather by Caighlan Smith
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror
Length: Short Story (20 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

In the middle of a barren wasteland, a small town goes through the motions as if nothing’s changed. Lolly has school, a part time job, a senile grandmother that needs looking after. But everything has changed, and Lolly’s always one storm away from facing that.

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One of the things I always enjoy the most about science fiction set in the future is seeing how it imagines our current era might be thought of by people who were born long after it ended. This story had several scenes that made references to things that people living in the twenty-first century would easily understand but that folks in this era found mystifying. I’ll leave it up to future potential readers to discover the specific examples I’m talking about here, but all of them made me chuckle. They couldn’t have been written better.

There weren’t enough details included in this story for me to figure out exactly how the world had changed. Lolly and her family made multiple comments about some sort of dangerous thing that was coming for them, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what they were afraid of. Their references could have been interpreted in so many different ways that narrowing them down to the truth was just about impossible. As much as I loved the atmosphere of this one, I would have enjoyed it even more if it had been clearer about what sort of conflict they were facing.

The atmosphere was fantastic, though. I really liked seeing how Lolly’s completely ordinary shift at work was mixed in with her quickly increasing fear that something awful was about to happen to her and the people around her. There’s something appealing to me about characters whose lives are interrupted in this way, and there was a lot of that in this tale.

If you enjoy endings that are open to many different interpretations, The Weather might be right up your alley.

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