Antes de mais, tenho que elogiar o excelente trabalho gráfico e o empenho que decerto os membros desta equipa colocaram na produção da revista. A capa é lindíssima, e o interior da revista igualmente cuidado, embora um pouco denso na relação texto-imagem. Atenção, refiro-me à versão provisória, uma vez que ainda não descarreguei a definitiva, que pode ser diferente.
Tal como aconteceu com outros bloguers, foi-me pedido que lesse e opinasse sobre os contos incluídos neste número da revista ISF. Com pouco tempo disponível, consegui mesmo assim ler e organizar uma pequena opinião para os dois primeiros.
Estão em inglês. Posso fornecer uma versão portuguesa a quem a desejar.
Metal Can Lanterns is simple and somewhat poetic in its discourse, a short yet moving tale of childhood secrets, lost tradition and timeless hope. Set in an imprecise time in a post-war future (presumably somewhere in China), the general feel of this short story is melancholy but hopeful. It’s two nameless characters, a boy and girl, arise as a symbol for all boys and girls and for the innocence and creativity of childhood, by crafting lanterns meant to recover the old tradition of the Moon Festival. The spreading of the small gesture as a secret among children suggests that the seeds of change are often in the hands of the young, promising a future built upon the roots of the past. These sweet two pages would make an excellent epilogue for a bittersweet dystopian novel.
The word that comes to mind after reading 59 Beads is hopelessness. It’s a well paced and intense story of sisterly love that had me reading with great interest. The world building, presenting a future riddled by steep social differences, the plague (the rot), and by scientific and genetic advancements reminiscent of dystopian films such as Blade Runner, seems very solid for such a short text and is never forcibly thrust upon the reader: the clever writing is all ‘show’ and no ‘tell’. The main character, trapped between sisterly love, despair and fear, is very well rounded and interesting. It would certainly be interesting t hear more about her. The story also explores complex concepts such as (voluntary?) slavery and the limits of humanity, the validity of rearranging the human body through science, the importance of human energy and touch, without ever becoming a rigid or cliché story. It is, above all a beautiful tale of love and self-sacrifice. The end is not unpredictable, but its heart moving and left me warm and… hopeless. A very good short story.