The Week of the Grendel Day 7: Stitching Time by Stephanie Burgis

Ahhh the end of the week and yet another story to go after this one. I guess I get to bend how the week goes and goes. We all get to bend it just a little, time a relative thing and all that Einstein Jazz. Today we’re going to talk about Stephanie Burgis’s story Stitching Time. I’ve worked with her in the past, in fact she had stories in both the original print incarnations of Grendelsong.

In the original issue 1 she had Ivy and Thorn and in issue 2 she had By the Light of the Dark. I can tell you right now, both stories were fantastic, and made me a huge fan. Now she publishes amazing novels like Masks and Shadows and kid’s books like her amazing Kat, Incorrigable trilogy. If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading a story written by her before, you are in for a treat.

Stop everything you’re doing, right now, and go and read this so we can discuss it properly-

There, there, there it is right there. This is what makes her stories sing, this is fantastic stuff. I’d originally read this story when it had been published at Fortean Bureau and thought how fantastic, how wonderful. It was unique and different, something unlike anything I’d ever read before.

The magic and the world are very mundane, so to speak, yet very powerful. There is an emotional core to this story, and the poetic way it is written lets you feel the words deep down inside. It’s not just a visual camera (though the world is very visual and vivid and bright), but it goes beyond the sensory input and goes straight to the human.

Everything feels like it’s projected and choreographed. I almost want to say staged, but having it be staged feels like I’m calling it wooden, and it’s not wooden at all. It flows, it moves. Everything pushes towards a revelation of character. You feel like as you read you are watching a movie by a master, something that has everything connected, everything reflected, everything a part of something else.

And even though the world is mundane, even thought there is a form of magic here, what dwells beyond it is a secret. Infanticide, like a horror inside, and it leaves you breathless and everything is weak, everything revolves around it. Even now, even discussing it, I’m remembering the scene and my heart’s beating fast and I’m feeling slightly sick and venomous.

And there is such beauty in this horror. You are left, like the main character, stricken and breathless. Horrified and wanting to come back up for air.

As a side note- you can now buy copies of this magazine on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And, if you love what we’re doing and want to support us, check out the patreon. Support at 2.99 an issue and you’ll basically be subscribing, and getting the version of your choice delivered a week before it goes live on the internet.


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