Short Stories 366:69 — “A House by the Sea” by P. H. Lee

coverI hadn’t read Le Guin’s The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas in a really, really long time, so it took me a few paragraphs into this piece by Lee from Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction before it clicked what I was reading. The tone is excellently done—Lee uses a similar style and creates a kind of echoing voice for this homage, and they end up doing so in a hauntingly poignant way that I truly appreciated.

The idea of these people—the ones who couldn’t handle the truth of what it cost Omelas to have its “perfect” society—finding this place and living here is a seed that’s at first planted straightforwardly, and then I started to ponder the lens of the anthology and it clicked into place. These are the people who left. The ones who refused the price of the suffering of even one for the benefit of all and… yes. I found myself sort of lulled into a silence after reading it, leaning back in my chair and just nodding my head in agreement.

Those from outside this house can’t figure those within it. Those from outside this house rarely visit. They find it uncomfortable to be there, and even the visits of the doctors don’t go smoothly nor without friction. Oh, yes, this all just felt so right. If you’ve never read The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, nabbing a quick synopsis would be enough to put the frame of reference into this tale, but it’s worth seeking out as well, and frankly this homage/continuance does it so much justice.

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