One of the major strengths of the stories in People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction is the range. Some of the stories are heavily sci-fi, others a lighter spec-fic touch, and “1965” lands firmly there on the lighter end of the scale.
That’s not a criticism, which I hope is clear, as Pardo spins an engrossing tale of a daughter and her mother (and her sister), as well as her best friend, and spins a delicate narrative in the relationships alongside the timing of a scientific moments relating to Mars. As the daughter watches her mother move from wishing to peace in this world to wishing to see another world to truly believing (in the Mulder sense), there’s a kind of embarrassed love at play. Her mother hasn’t had an easy life, what’s the cost of belief, really, as long as no one is harmed?
Then her childhood best friend moves in with her mother, and they share this belief, and then something happens that takes that step into potential spec-fic, and the whole comes together with such an understated completeness that it satisfies even as things are left as they are. Family, friendships, belief, peace… it’s all there, and it’s told with such a feather touch in places. “1965” charms.