Sunday Shorts—The Red Thread, by Sofia Samatar

coverI tend to shy away from dystopian fictions. I struggle with the sense of hopelessness, the feeling of “too late” and, if I’m being completely honest? It’s not hard to find all the bad news every day on the news, let alone seeing out that same hopelessness in fiction. That said? This story, from People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction, isn’t like that at all.

“The Red Thread” is absolutely set in a dystopia, one that’s all to easy to imagine, and absolutely has a hint of the dark and hopeless and “too late” but it doesn’t wallow and indeed takes a turn and my head—and heart—just exhaled in the rush of this unexpected shift in tone.

Sahra is traveling with her mother—heading somewhere even though it’s winter, and even though wheeling her mother is difficult (and through “isolation zones” very, very dangerous), but they’re part of a philosophy of moving. Of continuing, of avoiding places stained by violence, and the ethos of his group is the seed from which a sense of hope comes into “The Red Thread,” and wow, does it bloom.

Spectacular. Everything about “The Red Thread” is just pitch-perfect. I am so glad I picked up this anthology, for this story alone. It’s that good.

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