Monday, November 07, 2011

Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week :: The License Plate Game by Samantha Henderson

Bourbon Penn #3This week's Story Recommendation of the Week goes to The License Plate Game by Samantha Henderson, from the November 2011 issue of Bourbon Penn. I will confess I never heard of Bourbon Penn, until they attracted my attention by publishing a Samantha Henderson story. I seem to be one of Samantha Henderson's ideal readers, as I've enjoyed everything of hers I've read and given her a Story Recommendation of the Week three times. She joins only Rachel Swirsky and Aliette de Bodard as three-time SROTW recipients.

"The License Plate Game" starts out as a simple tale of a young girl's vacation with her mother and best friend, which started out great fun but somehow turned sour:
The drive home is interminable. You've listened to the good CDs too much, and what was delightful has become boring, and your Mad Libs are marked up, and you're surprised you ever thought them funny. Jillian looks out the window, bored with you, and you know on the first day of school she's going to turn away from you with that superior look and whisper to Margaret Lanhelm, and they'll laugh as if everything was a joke that you've no hope of understanding.
This first part of the story strikes a universal chord, underscored by Henderson's choice to write the piece in second person.

The fantastic element comes in late in the tale, and Henderson keeps it vague just what's happening. The focus of this story is on the kind of everyday resentments that might lead someone to make the sort of terrible choice demanded in a fantasy story. "The License Plate Game" is a nicely written, thought-provoking piece.

2 comments:

heavy hedonist said...

Thanks for a well thought-out review-- I'll check this one out.

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