Milagroso by Isabel Yap

Milagroso by Isabel Yap
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (22 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Marty always believed the lab-grown foods he helped produce were miraculous. But in his childhood home of Lucban, real miracles are occurring: artificial food is being transformed into delicious, sustaining produce. As he visits the home he left behind, the vibrant and colorful festival jerks him into a past he both hungers for and wants to forget.

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One of the things I enjoyed the most about this tale was observing how Marty’s friends and relatives reacted to his visit to his hometown. He lived far away and hadn’t been able to come home in a long time. Now that he had a wife and kids, their understanding of who he was as a person needed to be updated. This is something that is common in this scenario, and I was fascinated by how they reacted to the many ways he had changed as well as by how he responded to his parents and neighbors once he realized they still thought of him as the young man he’d been when he first left town many years ago.

I would have preferred to see more world building in this story. There were so many hints about what the future was like that weren’t explained as well as they could have been. Other than knowing that practically all of the food people ate was artificially produced, I didn’t have a good sense of what Marty’s society was like in general. Everything other than the food was described in terms that were simply too generic for me to imagine what it would be like to live in his world.

With that being said, I did enjoy the descriptions of the food people ate. Since Marty worked for a company that produced food in their laboratories, he had a much clearer understanding of what his loved ones were eating than most people would have known. The little comments he made about stuff like how everything was designed to meet all of the nutritional needs of humans only made me more curious about his job and what, exactly, was in their meals.

Milagroso should be read by anyone who has ever read a long list of ingredients on a boxed food item at a grocery store and wondered what some of those terms really meant.

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