Author Archives: Melissa Reddish
In Season Six of Doctor Who, one of the most highly anticipated episodes was written by Neil Gaiman, the author known for his Sandman series along with his novels like American Gods and Coraline. In this episode, the Doctor and his companions Amy and Rory crash land on an asteroid in an alternate universe. During this episode, we learn that the asteroid is a sentient planet that has trapped the soul of the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space, or the blue police box that is a time machine) in a woman.
In Act I of Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is growing increasingly upset at his lack of accomplishment. At sixty years old, he is working on commission, he can’t manage to pay his bills without borrowing money from his neighbor, and his son Biff is working odd jobs on ranches out West, directionless. Willy bemoans the current state of life to his wife, Linda. He has been working his entire life and it has all added up to nothing. Even when they finally pay off their house, there will be nobody to live in it, to which Linda replies, “Well, dear, life is a casting off. It’s always that way.”
Few writers understand this truth better than Ethel Rohan in her collection of stories, Cut Through the Bone. In each story, Rohan explores characters that have spent their lives gathering husbands and lovers and children and limbs and then losing them one by one. Rohan explores each loss deftly… Continue reading
Down the Rabbit Hole
When I first received Sarah Rose Etter’s Tongue Party in the mail, I knew nothing about it other than it had won the 2010 Caketrain chapbook competition. In hindsight, I’m extremely glad I knew nothing about this collection, because watching each beautiful, terrifying, utterly bizarre story unfold is part of what makes reading this cohesive collection so enjoyable.
Reading each story is a delightful trip down the rabbit hole. Many of the female protagonists live in worlds ruled by the dizzying logic of nightmares, struggling against situations beyond their control. In the title story, the protagonist must attend the tongue party, because, well, she must. While later we learn more about the relationship between the narrator and her father (one of several characters who abuses a position of authority and trust), the narrator never stands up and says, “No, I will not attend the tongue party.” The tongue party is as central to her reality as going to the DMV is in ours, and through it, we are able to experience the rawness of her fear and her desire for love. In fact, at no point does any character question the reality they find themselves in; like dreams, we don’t realize something is amiss while the dream is happening. And because Etter builds each world with such detailed, logical precision, we as readers don’t question what is happening either. Continue reading