Sunday Shorts—Plant Children, by Jessica Yang

coverQiyan sort of immediately jumped into my heart as I started this story, by sleeping in, being a bit of a mess, and missing her appointment with her Senior Thesis Advisor. I had empathy from the get-go, and her amusing back-and-forth with her roommate over both their living situation and Qiyan’s really, really due thesis idea was a great instant connection for the characters.

What follows is a lovely uptick in what can otherwise be a bit of an onslaught of pretty dark and dismal stories in the audiobook of Queers Destroy Science Fiction. Don’t misread that as me panning the collection at all (I’m not!) but more that the Davin and Lemberg stories were both pretty raw and depressing, and the ones prior to that weren’t chuckle-fests either, so this story was a welcome respite, tonally speaking.

Qiyan finds a way to balance an old request from her great-grandmother—to be sure to have children—with her thesis by nudging the genetics of any and all plants she can get her hands on to be more, well, like children. It starts off a little tongue-in-cheek, and as a quick solution to the thesis problem, but it evolves over the story into something sweet, and sometimes bittersweet, but the ultimate resolution, and the discussion between Qiyan and her roommate, left me smiling and warmed. It just charms on every level, especially through Qiyan’s eyes.

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