Sunday, April 03, 2011

Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week :: Iron Oxide Red by Gwendolyn Clare

Daily SFMy story recommendation of the week is for Iron Oxide Red by Gwendolyn Clare, posted at Daily Science Fiction in March 2011.

The first-person protagonist of "Iron Oxide Red" is an artist who discovers that when she cuts herself while painting, she bleeds paint. (I am saying "she," but unless I missed something all we know of the person's gender is that the protagonist is attracted to men, so it could as easily be a gay man.) What's more, the paintings with her blood-paint are her most powerful work, and she feels compelled to keep discovering new colors from different parts of her body.

For the first portion of the story, I feared Clare was satisfied just to show us the neat idea of a painter who bleeds paint. But by the end of the story, she effectively uses that concept as a springboard to examine deeper issues about the nature of art, and the artist's need to immerse herself compulsively in her own work in order to bring it to life.

Gwendolyn Clare is a very recent arrival to the genre scene, but has already appeared in such prestigious publications as Asimov's, Clarkesworld, and Abyss & Apex. "Iron Oxide Red" is a well-written, thought-provoking piece from another new author to keep an eye on.

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